I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

With Honey

I read this fantastic article today - from the website Flying Solo, which is a website geared towards "solopreneurs" or people like myself who run micro businesses. (Check it out, it's fab!) The article was all about how "secret" factors make a small business owner adjust their quotes in one direction or another.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, there are intangible factors that go into the black art of business quoting. Below are ten of the common 'adjustments' that are often factored in:

UP: The 'unpleasant person' price hike. Usually expressed in stronger language, this is the 20% tax added to the quotes of people who are an absolute nightmare to deal with.

DOWN: The 'good bloke' bonus. This is the lower price you give to a charming woman or man who is friendly and easy to work with.

The funny thing about the article was how true it all was! I found myself nodding and agreeing to almost every one of them. It's no secret among my friends that I will add an "irritation fee" or apply the "embuggerance factor" to clients who, from the outset, seem like they are going to be problem children. Sometimes I'll do it even if the person is sweetness and light...because they've given me less than 12 hours to produce a 3D cake diorama of the Wild West and they want it delivered to Upper Nowhere.

Owning my own business has really taught me the importance of being a good consumer - giving positive feedback as often (or more often) than negative. Replying to someone even if I know I won't be ordering with them and thanking them for their time. Saying thank you to people in shops and being understanding when an occasional order goes astray - all of these are things which I appreciate, so I've started to use them when I am the consumer. You would be AMAZED at how much a nice word, a sympathetic email, or a friendly phone voice will get you. It's the old adage of "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

In the case of Three Sweeties, I try as much as possible to be consistent on quoting. I rely on word of mouth to get me business, so it wouldn't be fair if I offered you X price for something, but offered your (nicer) friend Y price. At the same time, a big part of what makes my business successful is the amount of TLC I give my clients - so that's where you might notice the difference in terms of price. Not so much in absolute dollars, but in how many 'extras' I might throw in, how flexible my appointment times are, and so on and so forth.

So consider this my public service announcement for the day: next time you're dealing with a small business, be NICE about it. You never know what it might get you.

1 comment:

Cameron said...

My dad refers to it simply as billing "time plus aggravation". I love the cake wrecks site, by the way. I've wasted far too much time on it already.