Easy Money

The other day I saw a $20 bill on the street.  I swept it up in one graceful, natural movement and immediately felt guilty.  Who lost the money?  As I discreetly looked around, I noticed this guy moving with a purpose.  When he was within hearing distance of me, he said, ‘That’s my $20, but I’ll give you $5 to get it back.’  Exciting? Tricky?  Scary?  I don’t know.  It all happened so fast, and the guy was just suspicious enough for me to hand the money right over to him, mumbling something like, ‘It’s all yours.’

I can think of very few circumstances in which you get money unconditionally.  And in the case of a customer contract, accepting payment means you are obligated to meet a set of expectations.  So as a provider, you need to make sure that you clearly define what your customers will be getting when they pay you.

When you are selling services, defining your offering can be tricky, because it is easy to have unspoken expectations or scope creep.  For example, … if you pay me for a marketing or business plan, but you don’t get any revenue, who is responsible for that?  Or if you buy something and can’t find someone to help you understand how it works, who takes ownership of that?  Even if you are selling actual products, you still have implicit service expectations such as pre-sales support, customer service, and returns.  So regardless of what you are selling, the expected support services can be wide and varied, and you need to be aware of, and prepared for, those unspoken needs.

What does all this mean?  Well up front you need to think through your cost to produce and your cost to serve.  Then you need to continually monitor those costs, because as you know, you may ‘make’ more money from some customers than others.  That’s fine, as long as it is a conscious decision and you ‘are’ making money.

We all know that finding that right balance is never easy, but isn’t that why we do this?  Successful business leaders love to take on these kinds of challenges and overcome them.  That doesn’t mean that we sometimes wouldn’t wish for a money tree.  Unfortunately it hasn’t happened to us yet, but instead of offering a money tree, we can provide customer segmentation, analyses, and optimization.  If you are looking for that kind of business support, please reach out to us.  We’re happy to help in any way we can to meet your specific needs.



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