Are You Charging What You Are Worth?

I recently had a discussion with a client about their pricing structure we are building. In the conversation we spoke a lot about the different aspects of setting a price. As per common knowledge you look at many pieces such as market requirements, expenses, profit margin, etc. During the conversation, two aspects certainly stood out: Value and Competition. In fact we looped back about 3 or 4 times to talk about these two.

People by nature begin their pursuits with a high value thinking to themselves, “I am worth X amount and people will pay for it”. As time continues and the business is being setup, realizations of what they are worth and what the market is asking to pay are completely different. Ideas spring up that in all normality you would think should be for the better but in actuality are not.

The question to answer is:

“who am I asking to get feedback from?”

The client paid my firm to consult on their pricing and marketing model, to develop the business model and to implement a marketing campaign. In the process we had collected real market data creating a business model that would see the client’s business grow. Even though the hard factual data showed the pricing model was solid, during the process, our client had these negative thoughts of it being priced to high.

We pondered this phenomena over and over trying to figure out why this was occurring. Here we had a client paying us for solid real time advice, yet they were getting worried that it would not work.

After brainstorming for quite some time with the team, the question we kept bring up was “why did the client love the pricing but then changed their mind?”.

Was it fear? Was it too big of a change? Were they comparing themselves to others?

Why am I writing this post?

The reason I write this post today is because we asked the right questions to lead to the answers we were looking for. The client had spent quite some time talking with friends, family, and colleagues who discouraged the pricing structure. They were actively discrediting the ability for this person to sell at the pricing we had set.

The fact is that when you start a business you need to maintain your self-worth. Your image of who you are and what your value is must be maintained. The risk in starting your own business is high. With that comes high stress and with high stress come thoughts. They can be positive or negative.

Positive thoughts can make your experience of starting a business a beautiful one. One that brings you to the next level of who you were meant to be!

Thoughts can also be negative. These thoughts can cause high anxiety and a failure complex mentality. Draining your mental resources will only lead you to a level that will put you on the path to failure.

How do these thoughts come to be?

They come to be from conversations with people who are either negative or positive. People who are family members, friends, colleagues, and the people closest to you. People can drain you quite quickly with their negative thoughts. They can bring you to a level of self-worth that will make you feel like there is no possible way you can succeed.

Solution for this?

Establish rules with the people you talk to about your business. If you family has no knowledge of business, if your friends have no knowledge of business, if the people you associate with have no knowledge of business, do not talk to them about business. They will tell you their opinion that is based on what they see and not what is. They have no real research to back their claims. Only the bubble they live in.

Focus solely to talk with people that are in business. People who see your thoughts, your values, and self-worth. These people will help guide you in the right direction, a support that is much needed during the start of a business.

Wish your text messages would get deleted? Try Tell, the new private messaging app!

You know that moment when you wish the message you just sent to your friend would be deleted for good once they read it?

Tell is an app on iPhone that innovates how we send messages to our contacts with specifics that will knock your socks off. The two biggest features are a Timer and a Deadline for messages that are sent.

Have we been in these situations before where we wanted these features? I think we can all come up with a few. Business partners, relationships, during the bar extravaganza where too many drinks make for some happy texting?

Let’s say you have a message that you want to send to your friend but you won’t want them to keep it for long. You can set a timer for the amount of time it remains on their phone. It then deletes off the phone come that time!

The Deadline feature allows you to set a time where if the message is read or not it will just disappear… poof! Gone! Say what? Yes, so if you are in a bar and you send a stupid message to someone, you will be confident to know the next morning that the message is no more!

Tell App Icon

Tell Icon

Interesting fact about the creators: This is their very first go in the entrepreneurial ring. A knock out for sure! Co-founders; Marc Lafleur, Jonathan Makrakis, Shaheen & Sam Zangooi, currently have Tell in open testing mode on the App Store, and they have followed the life cycle to the tee, albeit without technical background’s or expertise. This mobile app is built by users, for users, said Lafleur and Makrakis. With their new 2.0 version on the way (more features) and it expected on the Android platform very soon, the 4 partners from Waterloo are moving forward at a pace that most app developers would love to have! Investment opportunity for sure.

Their inception of the idea was quite simple: Wouldn’t it be great to be able to send private messages to friends, and have it delete with no message history?

Their growth in the idea spawned with real life scenarios and yes I think you thought of a few while reading this article!

Download the app through the App Store and try it out with your friends, and enjoy the experience!

Visit up their sites:

Stand Up Meetings … Nikos Advice (PM Network Magazine)

Clever bee… where do you find the time?

Finding times for meetings is sometimes challenging and overall a headache when you have a project on the line and the team scattered on tasks. The questions PM’s always ask is how do you manage?

Simply put I don’t believe in big meetings. I don’t believe that sitting through an hour meeting once a week has any positive impact. This being said, traditionally and for many years this has been the norm. I don’t fight it when an organization wants it done this way. I don’t fight it when a manager wants it this way.

A simple method that can help improve meeting performance are stand up meetings. Stand up meetings are great for those who have to get things done and need to inclusively pass the messages along.  Why have an hour meeting when you can have a few a day that are 5 – 10 minutes?

Check out the article attached from the PM Network Magazine. Yours’ truly has provided some insight in the article regarding stand up meetings and the wonderful world of changing the flow!



How can I start the Design Think way?

Design Think is simple. It is the art of being creative in finding new solutions to problems that generally are solved in a normal way. We can take it one step further and apply it to a problem that has not been dealt with yet and needs a creative solution.  Big corporations spend time and money in creating solutions on a big scale.  So the question you should be asking yourself is why can’t I? Simply put, all you need is to think how have people approached this problem before and how can I do it better? Tweaking your thought process is the hard part but it gets easier as you practice.

If your mind set is in the norm, it is time to think big, bold and borderline irrational. Thinking big can help creativity skyrocket.  Introducing realism into the group of thoughts will help you bring them back to real world scenarios and streamline yourself to a workable solution! Take the workable solution and find technology and partnerships that can help streamline your business to provide your customers what they need and in turn solidifying your business is operating at an optimum.

When looking at clients that have requested Design Think, the first step is to analyze what is the current problem and the procedure associated with it.  The next step is to talk to everyone directly involved.  Again this means EVERYONE and not just management. Your company is a team that includes the front line and most importantly your customers are part of it. With social media growing at an astonishing rate, talking to your customers has never been easier.  Being that they are not face to face, ugly truths are easier to be divulged.  They will tell you what needs to be changed. The problem then becomes the how… that may just be the easy part!

The NIKOS: the third person approach!

Are you a regretful person? Do you regret a lot of things you do? Sometimes they torture you? Pardon the French but do you ever say to yourself: “#@!? was I thinking?”

I used to! I think everyone does. Don’t have stats on it but I am pretty sure everyone I talk to has had that moment and if you haven’t, come for a coffee and quick chat and I will make sure you say it… the question is why? Why do we get into these situations?

Simple: it’s the EMOTION!

Your emotion controls many decisions in a given day. From what you wear to what you do, where you go, how you say things, what you say, and so on. Emotions guide us and if you read up on the brain, emotion is a part of our decision making process.

So what’s the cure? Well there is no cure but we can create a behavioral process to lower the average amount of times you get into a regretful situation. How you ask?

Simple: Talk in third person!

Nikos is the best! Nikos rocks! Nikos, Nikos, Nikos… NO!  I don’t mean this!

Third person approach is much different. It is an art that is developed over time! You must take your time learning the technique. You put yourself in a baby step learning process.

The third person approach works like a charm when engaged in any situation where a decision will be made and emotion is part of it.

Examples include, should I buy something? Should I go to sleep? Should I do my homework? Should I spend time with a person I don’t like? Should I be getting advice? Should I, Should I, Should I…

When making critical decisions to problems, I use this process (replace with your name):

  1. Calm yourself down with a coffee or something that relaxes you
  2. Analyze the problem analytically
  3. Calm yourself down again by forgetting the problem
  4. Create the options that exist to the decisions
  5. Say:  What is the best decision here for Nikos? Nikos, it is best for you to… because… and you will not regret it for the following reasons, Etc.
  6. Write it down to have the why of your decision handy
  7. Remind yourself that you made the decision for the reasons…..
  8. DONE!

Try this for a few months… it will be hard but the advantages will change your mood. You will be happier in every decision you make. You will become a decision making GURU…

How did I come about this?

When running your own business situations come up where you need to make a critical decision. Sometimes you can get advice and sometimes you can’t. This process came about when I thought to myself, WHAT WOULD I RECOMMEND TO A CLIENT?

Magically the decision to use third person was an excellent choice… Simply put, AWESOME!

Believe me … or DON’T

I am running a marathon… or at least I think.. last few months now… is it will or hope? The question I often ask myself!

I am actually running a marathon in the arctic, barefoot and shirtless?  When starting a new venture you analyze all and take risks… risks I took.

Small business is all about risk. Whether you quit your job to start a venture… or you build on it over time… to take the plunge, one thing is for certain… you made a choice and now you need to keep going!

The usual trip of an entrepreneur starts with a dream. Starts with a dream that aims to make things better! As things progress, one begins to think that all is good and success is on the way. As the wheal starts to role, one begins to gain great confidence only to be shut down with reality a short while later.

What happens? What turns the tide from happiness to disparity?

Reality! Yes, reality hits and we realize that the business world was not as we thought it would be. All the sudden success isn’t as promised (as we thought) nor as we expected.  We are now chasing a dream and not a goal. The key word here is goal. People get stuck in an adventure hoping that all goes well but when do we know to go on or quit?

I like to think that this is the point we start analyzing where we are at. Can we figure it out or do we need help? Can we keep going or should we quit? The questions are there but do we have an answer…

The point that we need is to stop and think, and say yes, we need a break from reality, we need a break from fakeness… we need a chance at a new beginning.  This is the point where we stop, no thinking, not actions, just being still.

Stillness is the key to my success. I absorb all my emotions (negative and positive) and allow them to settle down. Usually this is during my coffee break! I create a mind map of things that need to be done to change the tide and jump on the first idea that I think will bring me success.

Why does it work for me?

It works for one reason… when you have no emotion in an idea you have no biased opinion… you are using your mind, your knowledge and experience.

My next article will be all about my “NIKOS strategy”; the third person approach! Conveniently the cure to regret!