A Single WordWritten by Dave Balch
There's no denying it; words are powerful. I'm talking P O W E R F U L! A single word can change your entire perception of a situation. A single word can completely change effectiveness of a marketing or sales message to your market. A single word can have an effect on your entire business. Let me explain what I mean.
About 20 years ago I developed a software product for large mainframe computers. Remember that there were no PC's in those days; mainframes were biggest computers normally used by businesses and those that had them typically had their own staff of programmers. My software was a tool designed specifically for those programmers and helped them with testing and debugging. Naturally, I had to clearly convey functionality of my product to my market (corporate programming groups), but it was complicated to describe. "...a tool that allows your programmers to manipulate data files and make quick changes and fixes for testing, debugging, and troubleshooting..." What was that again?
Then one day, like a bolt of lightening, it hit me. My product is an editor. Period. An "editor". What a concept! Why didn't I think of that before? An editor. Now it is crystal clear. Programmers know what an "editor" is. My software allows them to "edit" their data. Bingo! A single word changed my entire perception of my own product, and enabled me to clearly describe to my market exactly what it does. It also allowed me to list it in directories and catalogs where listings would be most effective.
At What Cost?Written by Dave Balch
Do you like to save money? Duh... Of course you do! When you own your own business, you really appreciate value of a dollar and want to squeeze everything you can out of each and every one. Right? RIGHT! But at what cost?
I remember shopping for a laser printer about 10 years ago. Living in a rural area, mail order is way to go for me and I combed ads in back of PC Magazine. Many of them didn't even show a price; it just said "Call" and I did. When I got price I wrote it down, then discovered that terms varied. Considerations such as shipping costs, credit card surcharges, sales tax if purchased within California, etc. all affected my bottom line cost, and whenever I discovered a new consideration, I had to re-dial companies I already spoke to in order to get their policy on matter. I figure I spent at least 10 hours doing research. I also figure that I saved about $50. Pretty good, huh? NOPE! I probably could have made a heckava lot more than that had I invested those 10 hours in my business!
I'm not saying that it is a waste of time to shop for a good price. Far from it. But there is a line, however, that you should be careful not to cross because that's when you enter never-never land of diminishing returns. In first hour, I could have determined that price of my printer wouldn't vary by much. At that point I should have just made a decision, ordered it, and moved on. I would have saved 9 hours of my time and probably only spent $20 or $25 more than I did. What I'm saying is that you have to remember to consider your time as part of price.