Did you know Ausoma doesn’t require long-term commitments from our clients? Our only contract is a service agreement stating the scope of work and cost, and an agreement to provide 30 days notice to cancel services. While we strongly recommend a 90 day commitment for new clients because it takes time to achieve results, no client is bound to us by a long-term contract. We take the risk, not the client.
Yet most stay long term.
If people stay when they don’t have to, spend their hard earned money with no contractual obligation forcing them, there must be something else keeping them.
I’m finding it more effective to move away from charging for an hourly service and towards a package rate for most of my clients. My clients perceive receiving a higher value when they pay a flat rate for a package versus an hourly rate. There’s actually less risk to the client and it’s easier to sell.
It’s also easier to do the bookkeeping and time tracking. When I sell hours, I have to track my time and charge my client for each minute. However, when I offer a flat rate to send out an eblast, submit articles, or post blog entries, I don’t have to track my time and the client knows exactly what it’s going to cost.
What are some ways you can package your services so that you can offer them at a flat rate rather than as an hourly service?
I recently read Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul and was particularly struck by one of the stories, The Accidental Entrepreneur by Jim McCann of 1-800-FLOWERS.com. It was very interesting to read about this successful entrepreneur and his “semi-commandments” because he has many of the same values about business as my husband, Joel, and I do.
Jim McCaan speaks of the need to establish a relationship before you can do business. Sure you need to extend your reach and increase your contacts. But that alone won’t bring you business. It’s the relationship that’s important. That’s why I don’t focus on getting as many contacts on social networking sites as possible. I focus on actually building relationships with individuals.
He also says that he is living proof that experiences can make you as successful as an MBA. Again, it’s not always what we know, but what we do, that makes us successful. Along those same lines, we agree tat it’s not necessary to know everything before starting down a road. An entrepreneur is not afraid to take that first step and see where it will lead.
One thing in the virtual assistant industry that I often find challenging is the idea of a cheap VA. McCaan points out that the cheapest labor is always the smartest. So when a prospect feels my rates may be too high, I remind them of the quality of work that they will get for their dollar.
My husband, Joel D Canfield, speaks a lot about not focusing on the money in business. McCaan agrees. He says, “Are you giving customers the goods and services that they want, when they want them? Satisfy those requirements, and the margins will take care of themselves.”
What words of entrepreneurial wisdom would you like to share?