I was walking through IKEA recently and came across a $99 sofa.
For a sofa.
You can easily find a men’s suit online for under $60.
Paying $2.99 for an entire meal is pretty common at most fast-food chains.
You can always find something cheaper. But is that better?
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As a consumer are you only concerned with cost, or does quality play a part in your decision-making? With so many low-cost alternatives to everything out there, I’m afraid we’re getting to the point where quality just really doesn’t matter like it used to. This downward spiral isn’t just bad for the consumer, it’s bad for your business.
Cheaper is almost never better
I think you would agree that the old saying “you get what you pay for” still holds a lot of weight, even in the internet age where super-cheap options abound. I’m not saying that you can’t get high-quality at a reasonable cost, but I do believe that the quality of a product or service goes down commensurate with the price. As small business owners and entrepreneurs we have a decision to make: Should we do it cheaper or do it better?
Imagine yourself in one of the following scenarios. Think about what you would do, how you would feel, and how you would be perceived.
Your boss is over for dinner for the first time. You invite her to come have a seat on your new $99 sofa.
You are going on a date with a girl you’ve had your eye on for awhile. You put on the $53 suit you bought on Overstock.com, and spritz on a little too much $4 cologne.
You are meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time. You take them to dinner at the $5 all-you-can-eat buffet.
Obviously these are extreme examples, but I hope you don’t find yourself thinking, “well that one doesn’t sound that bad”.
What thoughts and feelings came to mind when you imagined yourself in these scenes? Embarrassment? Horror? How do think you would be perceived? Would you look like a cheapskate? Would you give off the impression that you don’t care?
Too often businesses make similar impressions when they do things on the cheap. They look bad. They seem like they don’t care. People don’t trust them.
I’ve seen examples of this quite often lately when businesses decide to create their own brand identities and build their own websites. The key mistakes I see them making:
- They want everything for free (or as close to free as possible)
- They want to do it all themselves
- They’re not willing to make an investment in their business
Cheaper vs. Better: Creating a brand identity
You need to create a brand identity for your new business. You decide to do it on the cheap. You pick a name for your business out of thin air (but something cool-sounding of course), conjure up a logo using MS Paint, and you’re done!
Perception: You are cheap and you don’t care.
The alternative is to work with a professional (like me). I would conduct a series of discovery meetings with you and together we would paint a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve with your business. During this process we would determine your target audience, your brand message, your value proposition, your brand vision, your brand tone or style, and your color scheme. I would provide for you a creative brief, a brand mood board, and I would deliver to you a detailed brand identity presentation. From this information we would come up with a business name that has weight and meaning behind it (and also sounds cool), a name people can relate to, and one you would be proud of. We would then create multiple versions of professionally-designed logos that take all of your brand identity into consideration, and decide which one best represents you and your brand.
Quality: Extremely High
Perception: You took time and money and invested it in your business. You obviously care about providing quality for your audience.
What’s it gonna be then, eh?
You always have a choice. You can choose to do it cheaper or choose do it better. If given a third option, I’m all for doing it better and at a fair cost, but I realize there’s a cost to quality. I am more than willing to shell out some of my hard-earned dollars if it builds trust and credibility into my business. I also know my limitations and realize I can’t do everything in my business myself.
In this day of do it cheaper, do it cheaper, do it cheaper, I’m holding out hope that some of you will choose to do it better.
Where do you fall on the topic of do it better or do it cheaper? Are you willing to pay for quality work, are you more of a cheapskate, or do you fit somewhere in between? Add your voice to the discussion and take a stand. I’d love to hear from you!