If you are in the consulting business, you’ve most likely came across the issue with finding the right price for your services.
I am asked this all the time. So here are my thoughts to this subject.
Whatever you think your problem might be, more than likely it has nothing to do with your customer not wanting to pay or not being able to pay, but everything to do with your customer not understanding what he is paying for. He does not understand the value and how he in return can get value out of it.
If you go shopping and buy a pair of jeans, you’ll know you have to pay money for it. Branding and Image is most likely important. You buy the jeans, put them on and you know what you’ve paid for. Even in a month’s time, you can still see and touch the jeans, you can even sell the jeans to make money out of them.
Now, let’s look at a different scenario.
Let’s say you need an accountant to do your books. You also know you have to pay for this. The real difference is that when the accountant did his job, there is nothing left. Nothing to look at. You will always try to get the cheapest price or best deal and branding or image is far less important (for most).
Understanding wants and needs
What is the difference between those two scenarios? In the first scenario the customer wants to buy. In the second scenario the customer has to buy.
Whenever you **want** something, the most likely reason you want it, is because it resonates with you. You can see yourself with it and it feels good. This feeling is created through branding and image.
Whenever you **need** something, the most likely reason you need it, is because you are in trouble without it. You see yourself without it and it does not feel good.
The first scenario is straight forward, but as a consultant you work mainly in the second scenario. You work with people who have a problem and need a solution. We don’t really want to deal with problems if we can avoid it. You might think that having a solution is the solution and talking about their problems is going to make them want your solution, but in my experience the opposite is the truth. Nobody really wants to talk about problems if they can avoid it.
Working out the positives and negatives
If you look at it from a plus/minus scale, then everything that is minus is negative, zero is manageable, but plus is wanted. The same goes for pricing. We always try to find the zero. If you buy the product you want, after an initial period of adjustment, wherever you are or whatever you have then becomes your new zero.
Any change of that situation, like the loss of the product you’ve just bought, becomes a minus (a problem) and after a period of time you adjust your zero to that situation. So your zero is constantly moving up and down, adjusting to your current situation.
When I work with customers, I try to figure out what their current problems are, but not to talk to them about it, but to figure out if I can provide them with a solution that brings them at least to zero, but if possible to a plus. With my customers I only talk about the plus. That is where the value is. Sometimes that might be difficult, because they are so far in the minus and have not yet adjusted their zero to that point, that a solution that will bring them to plus is not possible for me.
With this in mind, your services or products must achieve two things: bring the customer back to their current zero and provide a path to a plus. Most money is spent in the plus section and the least money in the minus. Translate this to products and services, the products or services adjusting to zero are the least paid for, but whatever goes to plus is the most paid for. Create your products and services accordingly.
Depending on your sector, there are different ways to this. But think about it and always ask yourself the question:
Where will my customer be when I am done?
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If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get
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During my years working with entrepreneurs there’s one subject has been discussed the most:
How can I stay motivated?
That this is such an important subject shows that lots of people struggle with this and I believe it also shows that lots of people don’t understand the concept of motivation.
Let’s clear one thing up first, motivation is not some out-of-earth experience, given to us by the gods or whatever you might believe in, but is something created by us. Motivation comes from within us and we all have it, we just need to activate it. Look at it like a switch you need to flip-over so the energy can flow. To better understand the concept, let me explain the “Motivation Triangle”.
As you can imagine the Motivation Triangle consists of 3 parts. Each part is connected to the others and they influence each other. All of these parts are 100% under your control, you just have to make them work together. Let me explain each part in detail and at the end I will show you how they interact.
In order to get motivated about something you need to know what it is. It can be anything that interests you, but even if you believe there is nothing that interests you, pick anything with a possible positive outcome. Let’s say “Going for a walk”. It probably will do you good and it won’t effect anyone else in a negative way. Now, before you do anything, imagine yourself walking down the street, breathing some fresh air, watching people walk by, smiling at you. Don’t worry if you just can’t imagine all the bits and pieces, just go as far as you can. This is what is called a vision. A vision is your personal look into a possible future. Of course nobody knows what is really going to happen, but we have the ability to imagine, to dream, to fantasize. The only thing you should do is to make sure it is a positive outlook. The vision is the “Motivation Generator”.
If you want to do anything in life, you need to make a decision to do it. Let’s take the walk we discussed in the vision. In order to go for a walk, you need to decide to do it. To make this clear, it must be your decision, not from someone else. Don’t worry if you think that there is no point to go for a walk, just trust yourself and decide to to give it a try. The important part here is that you make a conscious decision to do something. You’ve thought about it (vision) and you are deciding to do it. Again, the decision you take should be a positive one. The decision releases the “Motivation Energy”.
For motivation to have an impact on you, this requires some action. If you thought about going for a walk and you decide to do so, you actually need to do it. It does not mean you have to go for a 20km long walk – but you need to walk. The action is the “Motivation Manifestation”. It forms the pathways for you to produce more positive energy and motivation. It allows you to have bigger visions and an easier and quicker way to release the energy to grow your ability to manifest the energy.
Let’s put this together
You imagine to go for a walk. In your mind you see yourself walking down the street or over a field. You decide to do it. You get dressed, put your shoes on and you walk out of the house and go for a walk. If that experience was a positive one, you will feel really good and happy that you’ve done it. The next time you will find it much easier to imagine to go for a walk. The decision will be far easier too and the action even more joyful then the last time. As you repeat this process, going for a walk becomes not only natural to you, but such a positive action that you are looking forward to your next walk.
Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine something positive depending on your situation in life. Just choose something that will not have a negative impact on you or others. Go as far as you can, decide to give it a good try and start doing it. On the next round it will become easier and your experience will become better. I only urge you to make sure it is a positive vision, decision and action. Start with something simple and as your ability to become motivated grows you can tackle bigger visions, make bigger decisions and take bigger actions.
Like with everything in life, practice makes the master. Be consistent, congruent and yourself – and your ability to generate motivation for your benefit and for others will be endless.
What are you going to do next?
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What stops you?
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As entrepreneurs we love the challenge of the new, the amazing feeling when an idea turns into reality. It is like a rush and sometimes it’s like falling in love. We just jump into it and let ourselves swoosh away.
We don’t really know how it will all turn out. It’s all new after all – and in a way we hope for the best and already see ourself as the successful entrepreneur, all wishes fulfilled and a happy bunny all around. What a great dream!
While this kind of passion can be very exhilarating, motivating and can give us a lot of energy, if we want this to be more than a dream, we need to have a plan, some direction and we should take our time to get this right.
Changing the idea to reality
Mostly it starts with an idea. We see something, hear something or have done something we think could be a great business idea. We pitch it to our friends and describe it in all colours and we have an answer or a solution for every “but” they might throw in. We get highly excited and frustrated at the same time as we can’t understand why not everyone thinks the same way as we do.
What we seem to forget is that all those comments and the critique we receive is actually the best thing that can happen to our idea. Let’s face it, in the end our idea is only as good as it is perceived by others. Except we live in a hole, by ourself with no contact to anyone. Then, we would be our only customer and what kind of business would that be?
So, we need to make sure that our idea is a great idea for other people, specifically for the market we want to attract. It’s probably easier to look at the market first, the problems they have and to figure out which of those we are capable of solving.
This way we know that our idea is at least pointing in the right direction. Everything we collect about our idea from the people we talk to about it will only strengthen our idea and give it form. One thing we can’t get around is talking to people about it.
I know, sometimes its hard, especially when you believe that someone might steal your idea. However, in my experience, the business idea is only the beginning and a very small part of the resulting business. The biggest part is putting it all in place and putting the work in required to make it big. If your idea is very easy to do and doesn’t require much work, it most likely won’t work anyway.
Feedback that moves you forward
Lots of people have many ideas, but if you want to find out if your idea has a chance in the world you need to learn to speak to people about it and to listen to what they have to say. You need to learn to filter out the information that can help and to see how your idea reflects with other people (your possible clients). ‘Google’ it and find out as much as you can. Depending on your circumstances this should not take longer then a few days and you’ll either “know” it will work or it won’t.
Describe the idea from all angles, define for who it is, why they need it, what makes your idea stand out. Bring your idea alive, out of the dream world into the real world. Now pitch it again to your friends and see their reaction. They can be a great indicator in what you are going to face.
What’s your great business idea?
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Everything starts with an action!
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Entrepreneurs also need a vacation. No matter if you are sole-preneur or you have a team working with you, you all need a vacation. Taking time for yourself and placing yourself in a different environment than your usual can have many benefits.
The fact that you can use this time to activate your body physically and recharge by taking a decision to go on an active holiday can be one option. If you haven’t had the time to be active regularly, the summer can be a perfect time to jump on a bike, go swimming, running and play.
Every summer I decide to use my bike as a form of transportation. It doesn’t matter where I go, what I do, I take my bike with me. It is not particularly easy to ride it in the city of Belgrade since there is no infrastructure but it doesn’t stop me. The wind in my hair feels a lot better than riding in a crowded bus with sweaty and sticky people. I get places faster anyways. Not only that, but I can use it to go into the woods and ride around the river and lake. Placing myself back in the nature, surrounded by trees, helps me relax and allows my brain to take a break.
Could you decide to wake up the kid in you for these few days and go with the flow?
Focusing purely on yourself and your inner needs usually helps you connect with the kid we are speaking of. Try it, it might just be what you needed to reconnect with what you really need and want. Allowing yourself to rejuvenate starts by detecting these needs.
Deciding to shift the focus from work towards yourself can be a good start of a short vacation. There is nothing wrong or selfish about this act.
Satisfy your physiological needs,such as activating physically, can further help you with handling stressful situations and unexpected outcomes. Wouldn’t you want this once you are back at work?
Waking up your body physically and enabling all the necessary hormones to flow, can be one way to regain balance and reconnect with yourself. On the plus side, the stress hormone drops.
Once you are back at work, you might be more motivated to find time for a sweaty activity than laying on a couch drinking beer.
We dare you to connect with the kid inside you and play this holiday.
What are you going to do on holiday?
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Everything starts with an action!
Holiday season is approaching and you should be planning your vacation. As an entrepreneur, you should allow yourself to get away for a week or more on a nice summer holiday. One reason is to reset and rest for more than a few hours at the time. It’s a perfect opportunity to get some well needed sleep you have been depriving your body from.
Most of the entrepreneurs I know work every day – and most more than 10 hours a day. This is great because they do what they love and most of the time it doesn’t feel like work. Even so, we all need a few days to catch up on a few things we keep postponing. One of them is probably sleep. Sometimes it feels like the least important thing on our “To do” list, but it shouldn’t be.
There might be a few reasons why you don’t sleep enough or sleep well.
1. You are exhausted and in a rush to fall asleep since you know you will have to get back up early again.
2. You have too much on your mind and you cannot stop brainstorming, organizing and creating.
3. My favorite, your brain is tired from sitting all day and working hard, but your body wants action.
All of these are possible reasons and you might recognize yourself in one of them, but one thing they all have in common is satisfaction. Allow me to explain. If you get to bed satisfied with your day, or with clean conscious like most people say, you will be more likely to fall asleep. This is an individual thought and there is no recipe that fits all. You are the one to figure out what makes you satisfied.
Are you ready to experiment a bit this vacation? If you would like to get some sleep on your beach holiday and continue with that as you return back to work, there are a few things you can try.
The very first and the most important one is to re-evaluate your purpose. What is it you are really after? Are you going in a direction you envisioned? It could be that you got off track, willingly or not, but you are not the happiest entrepreneur because of that. We have all been there, so it is important to sometimes take a moment and question yourself, your principles and redefine your vision.
Another area that some entrepreneurs are struggling with is delegation. This is maybe why you don’t have enough time to sleep. Are you hoarding tasks, not allowing anyone else to help out? It could be that you have to work on delegating some tasks to your team members. If you don’t trust your team to help you move toward the company vision, you might want to rethink your strategy. You shouldn’t be holding all the pieces of the puzzle. On the other hand, if you are a sole-preneur and you have so much work that you cannot physically manage, it could be the time to get someone on board.
The last, but certainly not the least is the feeling of being trapped in your own body. You might feel like your brain is tired, not wanting to analyse, organize and brainstorm anymore but it is certainly not tired to go for a run, ride a bike or swim. If you are considering going for an active holiday, it might just be what you needed to bring that satisfaction to another level.
Have you detected why you cannot sleep (well)?
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What is the right decision?
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Summer holiday period is a perfect time to rethink and restructure. Sure you want to rest and relax before going back to work and your busy schedule, but you could also use this time for improving one habit.
Actually, it is not the habit itself that you will be improving, but the routine associated with it.
Most of us do things to satisfy a need, but the routine we engage in to get to the reward may not be so constructive. For example, if you are a smoker, you would go for a break to have a smoke and chat with other smokers out there. It could be that you are really in need of a quick change of environment or a break from work much more than the actually cigarette. In order to figure out what it is you are actually after, you have to conduct a fun experiment.
To start with, you should detect a cue which triggers you to make the move, the routine you are doing and lastly the reward you are getting. So it could be that you don’t need to smoke that cigarette but rather a chat with a friend, a social moment is what you are after.
A cue can be anything from place, time of the day, person who triggers you to go. Then a routine kicks in. This is the part you are actually changing. Lets use an activity you might do on a holiday. When you go to the movies, do you get a large bag of popcorn? You sit down and watch a movie and before you know it, you are down to the bottom of the bag. This routine of eating unconsciously while watching a movie is probably what you don’t want to do again. Lastly, the reward is something you get in return, the pleasure that this habit offers.
So if the cue is a movie theatre (place), routine is popcorn eating and the reward is pleasure of seeing the film with sound effect on a large screen.
If you ask me, I don’t eat anything at the movies. Why? Well, because when I am distracted and eating, I don’t remember what I ate, how much and why. Most people don’t. Has anything like this ever happened to you? You set the bag of popcorn aside and then after a few minutes you pick it up again, but there is nothing inside. You forgot that it was empty. This routine is not the healthies one and if you want to improve it, there are a few things you can do.
Two things are for sure, the cue and the reward do not change. You will be going to the movie theatre and enjoying a film on a large screen. It is the routine that you should experiment with and see what works for you the best. You could try eating something healthier, just having a drink instead, or maybe fully engage in a movie and not chew on anything. Try a few different things each time you go and detect how you feel about the reward afterwards. Was the experience less satisfying? Was it maybe the same?
So, what movie are you watching next?
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How to prepare for your holiday as entrepreneur
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