Attention all husband-and-wife entrepreneurs and family business owners! Did you know that you possess the one tool that most larger companies don’t have, the linchpin that could ensure success with your pricing and put you MILES ahead of your fellow business owners? Trust me on this. That powerful advantage is sitting beside you every morning at breakfast.
Most of our entrepreneurial clients, whether in Godwin Start-Up School or a long-standing client of our CPA firm, own businesses run by one spouse or the other, but closely monitored by the other spouse. For instance, we see a lot of entrepreneurial husbands eliciting the advice of their wives (think “sounding board”), or for more detailed help with invoicing customers, paying bills, doing light bookkeeping, or simply helping with administrative functions such as answering phones or running errands. We see many entrepreneurial wives asking their husbands for assistance with the same areas…advice and counsel. When I ask those entrepreneurs if they ask their spouse for assistance with pricing their engagements, they look at me and say in some form “My husband/wife doesn’t really know my business, so I don’t ask them for help with pricing my work.”
OK, so you will ask your spouse to run all over town and pick up paper and postage stamps, then ask them to do your bookkeeping (don’t even get me started on this one), and ask them to bear with you as you grow your company, but you don’t even ask them what they think about your pricing? Your pricing is what makes the engine run…it’s what pays for gymnastics lessons, your lifestyle, summer camps, and your cars. It’s EXTREMELY important, and that’s why we spend hours talking about it in Start-Up School. Why aren’t you taking advantage of your most valuable resource by asking your spouse if they think you’re selling yourself too cheaply?
Your spouse need not possess your level of business involvement, education or expertise to lend advice for pricing. I have yet to find an entrepreneur that I thought charged too much for his/her service or product. Never. We, as entrepreneurs, are taught in our infancy that we have to underprice our work to obtain clients.
I am here to say that’s a very large load of crap wrapped in the guise of wise counsel, and you need to cease believing it. Right now. I mean it.
Who better to look in your tired eyes at 10 pm on Saturday night, while you’re sitting at your computer in the kitchen, and say “Stop giving your work away for nothing! We need braces for Jimmy! Get out there and price this for what you’re worth!” than your lovely wife or strapping husband. You have this valuable resource, who will tell you the truth about your level of expertise and pricing power, and you’re letting them ride around in the family van buying paper clips when you should be asking them about whether you’re pricing your work commensurate with its value. I have found it usually only takes a little belief, passed from one caring spouse to another, to fix this problem. And man…when that first customer signs your engagement letter at the price your spouse recommended, and you see your work valued for what it truly is, that’s a great day! That’s a day worthy of a nice dinner and bottle of Pinot Noir at your favorite establishment.
I’m not advising you to approach this with reckless abandon. Make it somewhat official by calling your spouse what he or she truly is…your Pricing Council. When you get a call from a prospect, and you begin to put together your pricing plan, ask your wife what she thinks about it. Does it sound as though you’re pricing the work commensurate with your value? Or does your husband think it feels like you’re discounting it just to get the work? Your spouse knows you better than you know yourself, and there is no better reinforcement of your value than having that person say “I think you’re underselling yourself here. I think the work is worth more than that. Look at the value you’re bringing to them with this work.”
Your spouse is going to be with you in this venture, whether officially “hired” or not. Lean on them to reassess your value, and how you price for that value. I promise you…this works. If you don’t believe me, let’s get together and talk about it further. I have LOADS of stories for you.
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