The idea of fair rate hikes is a reoccurring topic of conversation. Every business owner needs to weigh client loyalty against any fee increase. Employers need to consider fair salaries being in alignment with employee loyalty to avoid the costly revolving door syndrome.
It is smart to also consider alternative solutions. There are three major issues to be carefully considered:
- Hourly fees
- One source of income versus multiple
- The cost of keeping up with changing trends
Long ago, I had a word processing business in my home. It was the new trend of the day and an hourly fee was in place. I enjoyed a nice range of clientele to include attorneys and a professor associated with a prestigious university. The work was never dull, and I enjoyed my clientele. We held mutual admiration and nothing could have been better until…
Within a year, it became evident I needed to help earn more money for the family college fund. A specific number of hours in the day were set aside for typing, and the hourly fee had limits. A new income source was needed. This was the juncture that led me to my sales career.
My story above came to mind as Lucy shared that she worked with one accountant for many years. Fees were increased year after year. She was asked to pay $1,000 for the last round of work that did not require much effort. Even worse, the service provider hounded her for payment. You can imagine the discussion Lucy had among her peers.
The drama provoked Lucy; she finally reviewed the previous yearly bills. Admitting negligence on her part, she vowed never to allow billing to get out of hand again. In the meantime, another organization was enlisted to help.
Should hourly fees describe how you are currently conducting business, it may be time to reconsider your processes.
- Did some clients walk while others expressed concern over announced rate hikes?
- Are you still using the exact same hourly rate business model?
- Is it time to consider additional revenue streams?
Take quiet time to consider all the possibilities you might put into place to attract additional clients. Adding less cumbersome side streams of income may work to your benefit.
Some ideas include providing:
- Quarterly seminars at a local school
- Semi-annual informational events at an establishment
- Monthly classes in person or online
- Host a charity event
The activities keep you engaged with your intended audience. Also, as waves of clientele come and go, you retain possibilities in your pipeline.
Another serious consideration is to be on top of the latest trends. Determine if they are a fad or the latest in which you recognize a need to invest and learn.
Artificial intelligence is the perfect example of the newest trend, and chat bots are already prevalent online. The good news about being an early adaptor of new ideas is that it puts you in a leadership role. Higher consulting fees become a new possibility.
Working to maintain a full funnel at all times is sales strategy at its best. It reduces worry and stress about the occasional client leaving. By interacting with people and offering value-add services in a variety of ways contributes to building a reputable brand. Throughout the business development process, you develop the type of recognition that develops sound long-term relationships.
- Examine your business model.
- Decide whether changes are needed to increase income.
- Research the income strategies of leaders in your field.
- Begin with new processes that appeal to you and seem to be the easiest.
- As you become comfortable adding strategy, deal with the more complex.
- Discuss new ideas with counterparts.
- Consider collaborative efforts such as an annual forum.
- Inter-mix your engagement such as in-person and online.
- Analyze where your larger audiences reside to refine your effort.
- Celebrate Success!
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