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.

Can a Project Manager who is not Specialized in the Area of the Project be Successful?

Have you asked yourself this questions before? Have you been in a room where this question has been asked before? What were the results? Were all parties on the same page?

This question is usually a black and white kind of question for most. Either one agrees or does not agree. There is rarely a middle ground. It is based on experience and biased knowledge of what is possible. The story goes, if it’s a technical project I need an engineer. This engineer needs to be a project manager.

But why?

If a project manager is the smartest guy in the room then will we need to hire more engineers to do the work? We probably will have to hire someone new, as the engineer turned PM has the PM work to do. So how can they have enough time to complete the engineering work?

If this is the case then, do you pay the PM more or less money? Do you have the engineer make decisions or do the engineers make the decisions? What happens if some engineer work needs to be done and so to save time and money on the budget the PM starts doing some of the engineering work?

Fact is that although it’s a great idea, one has to look at the big picture. A PM has the knowledge of managing projects. No two projects are alike but basic principles are used. A strong PM is able to apply these to any project and be successful. The level of success is based on how well the resources are utilized. For instance, if the PM is not an engineer, they will leverage the engineer’s knowledge on the project in order to fully complete the PM tasks. One cannot exist without another.

Being inclined to hire based on reputation is a good thing, however, being inclined to hire based on PM characteristics strengthens the choice. If a PM has a personality that can deal with the engineers and talk their language in the meeting room, then that candidate can be successful.

If the harnessing of resources is done properly by the PM and is supported by the stakeholder and owners of the project then success is easily achieved.

Communication Change in Corp World

We have all been involved in large organizations. We have all witnessed what it is like to work with others in a massive team. We have worked the jobs at the bottom of the chain and also the ones at the top. Various understanding of how to deal with people exists and it is usually based on previous experience, culture, society norm, and so on.

What I noticed while working with some big corporations, is that people tend to stick to what they know. They don’t like change and certainly not anything that will compromise their job/career. It is intuitive that they follow procedure.

Does this make or break a corporation? Well startups are in a different position. They are able to create a different culture and develop new approaches to their work flow. Usually this can give them leverage over bigger companies and giving them an opportunity to grow faster and capture market share.

So how does communication come into play? The basis of any working model should require a proper communication flow; a way for a team to develop and grow constructively. What happens next? The interesting process of corporate politics enters the arena and when you have new technology… fireworks are always expected.

While at the bottom of the chain working the entry jobs, I would suggest great tools, great flows and really, anything that would limit the amount of time it would take to get responses back. Moving up the chain and learning the tricks of the trade I would start suggestions with proper presentations and proof of efficiency. This proved to be beneficial. The interesting portion however, came from different management.

Focusing on the successful ones, they integrated culture change. Culture change is always difficult, with all the politics, procedures and what not else that exists in a large corporation. The effectiveness of being able to make the change always brought success in the implementation. If this was not accomplished, the opposite occurred, where by efficiency dropped and the projects felt the ramifications of limited culture change.

Communication: Does Style Matter?

Over the years I have realized that the most important part of any job is communication. Without it, possibilities of success vanquish. In Project Management however, communication is imperative to successful completion.

From large corporations to small startups I have found one constant to success:
“The ability to grow the team organically through proper communication”.  What is proper though? Let’s put it in to perspective. Proper communication is, and only is, “proper” in the eyes of the team that is involved in the project. Where one person may say great things, another will say horrid things. Bottom line is that one should analyze and come to a proper working model.

In corporations, I have found that it is easiest to follow status quo. Rules and regulations are there for a reason and must be followed. Of course, there is opportunity to change things and yes being flexible is a necessity. However, when being pulled into a project that is not your own or starting a project where you don’t have maximum authority, well then there is no use fighting.

Startups however? That’s another story!  Why? In the previous paragraph I was referring to culture change. In order to change the flow of things, you need the culture of an organization to adapt and transform into a new methodology and way of life organically. Acceptance is not always simple.

In a start up, we can transform the culture such that it not hinder but promotes growth. Simply put, everyone wants to succeed and thus you are able as a project manager to steer the communication in the direction that will find ultimate success.

Working with startups across the globe and in my own backyard, I have found that it is always easier to address the issues at hand and assist in the process of the business as a whole.  Creating a culture around communication is the process that must have focus in the immediate months following growth of employees.

In my next several blogs, I will talk about culture change for communication in both corporate companies and start ups, addressing the differences I have seen!

Welcome to SATNER Business Solutions Blog

 [custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]A split of SATNER Business Solutions and occurred in the spring of 2010 to accommodate for strategic implementation to better serve our client base!  We are always interested in new product ideas, business ideas, and joint ventures.  Drop us a line and one of our representatives will be happy to have a sit down!  Our aim is to continually grow through strong relationships of joint ventures and partnerships.

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Nikos Rentas,
CEO & Founder, Audience Cultivator