Back again, as I promised, with the next instalment of Small Business Sunday, courtesy of lovely Fee and this week we’re looking at the Mates’ Rates issue. It can be a hard predicament that you find yourself in, when can you say no? When can you suggest a slight increase in prices? When can you prove to others that you need to up your costs to grow your business? These questions are all hard to answer especially when you’re new to business.
I am a brand new businessperson, or at least, I feel like I am. I have been doing this for a good few months but it’s still very early days and what’s more, I am constantly learning new and important things which I can use to make my business better. When you first start out, or at least when I first started out, I did a lot of very low paid work, even voluntary bits and bobs, to get my name known and to show people what exactly I was capable of and how it could benefit their business too. I offered some very low prices to get work done for people and it worked, it meant I had a platform to work from and I could say my copy was out there and being used by companies already trading.
However, it can be that you end up doing longer term projects and the prices set are fine at the time but as your business grows and you attract a higher quality of work and therefore a different price brand, you find the lower paid stuff no longer seems to slow you down and mean you can’t take the ‘better’ work. However, when you’ve agreed something casually with someone early on, perhaps someone you now consider more a friend than a client, it can be difficult to broach the subject but if you get trapped in an endless cycle, you’ll end up worse off.
This is one of those topics that can be hard to write about, I don’t offer services that many of my friends would use on a regular basis but I do have some who ask for advice and ideas sometimes which is obviously something you can offer without charging, or it just gets silly. I wouldn’t know where to begin if I offered a product based or craft based service and friends expected me to do cut price deals for them. I have heard terrible stories of photographers, for example, expected to offer cut price wedding package deals to a friend of a friend at the height of the season just ‘for a favour’ – how do you get out of that without it getting awkward? I guess it’s a case of always standing your ground, if you lose some business, it probably wasn’t worth it anyway and you have to be brave.
I am not brave, I know this and I find it hard to say no to anything but maybe, if the time comes, I’ll see that there are benefits in holding out for the bigger jobs.