Webworkers: How to not compete on price

Once again, Jeremy nails the question of how to differentiate your web based business:

… take a look at what (customers) are complaining about …

* Missing delivery dates

* Inconsiderate, rude responses

* Canceling projects

* No phone support

* Not responsive

* No consistency when it comes to who is working on the project

Don’t respond to an RFQ with just price – talk about service excellence!  Talk about points of differentiation!

On That Software Guy’s FAQ page, I talk about my Zen Cart module development services this way:

As with most things in life, with freelance software developers, you get what you pay for.

  • My Quantity Discounts and Better Together modules have been downloaded over 8,000 times each. If you look at the total download statistics for That Software Guy’s contributions, you’ll see my contributions have been downloaded over 40,000 times.
  • I have been doing commercial software development for over 20 years.
  • I have a proven track record of delivering highly functional software.
  • That Software Guy, Inc. has been in business since 2003. Government fees, insurance, accounting and tax preparation costs and other forms of fixed overhead are in excess of $1,000 per year. I wouldn’t keep the business open if it weren’t consistently making money, and the only way to make money consistently is by delivering a service which people value.
  • I am a PayPal verified, native speaker of English who’s a US resident and in the phone book.
  • Communication is a critical success factor. Is someone who doesn’t speak English really going to be able to make sense of your business needs and create proposals that work for you?

If you compare value rather than cost per hour, you’ll see that it makes more sense to hire me. Better contractors produce better results.

How can you differentiate your business?

Create like Hugh MacLeod

I’m a big fan of @gapingvoid. And I’m anxiously awaiting his book. But in the meantime, I’m reflecting on his top ten tips for being more creative:

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

7. Keep your day job.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

You can even read the rest of the tips if you want to keep going.

MMM: In praise of Georges Doriot

Harvard Business School professor Georges Doriot started the world’s first venture capital firm, American Research & Development (ARD). Professor Doriot said,

“I want money to do things that have never been done before.”

If reading sentences like this gives you a boner, then now’s the time to start your own company. Tomorrow’s millionaires are being made today. What are you waiting for? Start now.

Three words from Seth Godin about email

Seth Godin speaks to Google – a wonderful talk that’s well worth an hour of your time. Most interesting story: creation of Hallmark collectible ornaments (about halfway through), with followup marketing by email. Takeaway: the most effective email campaigns are

  1. Anticipated
  2. Personal
  3. Relevant

The “email blast” approach has never worked, will never work, and will likely land you in hot water. Take the time to do it right.

That Software Guy works with MailChimp on email promotions. Check out their resource library to see the depth of their expertise. Reasonable prices for small businesses too.

RIP J.R. Simplot – from chips to chips

J.R. Simplot passed away today.   A real Horatio Alger story – started in business at 14.

In 1923, he left home with four $20 gold coins and paid $1 a day for room and board at Declo’s only hotel. As a shrewd young businessman, Simplot bought interest-bearing scrip paid to teachers who also were boarding there for 50 cents on the dollar.

Question: is there anything you can buy today for fifty cents on the dollar?    His story comes wonderfully full circle:

n 1980, at age 71, Simplot took a gamble on the next generation of businessmen, giving Ward and Joe Parkinson $1 million for 40 percent of what would become computer chip maker Micron Technology Inc. Over the years, he pumped in $20 million more to help Micron build its first manufacturing plant and to stay afloat. Micron went on to become a major producer of DRAM memory chips, which are used to store information in personal computers.

Question: if you can’t run your own business, can you take an ownership stake in someone else?  Dreams need funding today.