Val·ue /ˈvalyo͞o/

In It's Business Time by Ken Braithwaite

One thing I get asked a lot, is how much it will cost for me to design a website. That’s right, people just cut to the chase and ask for the price. This makes sense on the surface because most businesses buy or sell things with set prices and observable value. They most likely operate on a three quote system; Get your three quotes, and more often than not, choose the cheapest option. This may work out just fine when you’re talking about commodities, or standard services, but this poses a problem for myself and others in my line of work. I’m not selling a commodity, or even a quantifiable service. I’m trading in value. That is, the value my work can bring to your business. Every business is different and has different problems that require unique solutions. Therefore, I can’t give you a straight answer without first determining the scope of work and the problems that need solving, and how the project will create value for your company. 

For example, let’s say you run a small business, and with your current set up, you bring in 500k a year, but you believe you’re capable of scaling beyond that million dollar threshold. You believe in yourself, your people, and your product or service, and yet for some reason you just can’t seem to take things to the next level. Then you meet me. I use what I know of design and brand marketing to step up your company’s image, find effective ways to engage both new and existing customers, and help your business grow in presence and credibility, to the point where you reach your aforementioned goal. How much value can you see in that? If you could place a dollar value on it, what would that number look like? For example, let’s say 10% of one year of your perceived growth. This is a conservative number, which makes sense only because there are no guarantees in this business, but if you could spend $50K once, to make an additional $500K annually? I think most people would probably make that deal. 

This might still seem like a lot of money, and it is, but it’s all relative. I work with people on budgets, and I understand the challenges they face, because they’re the same challenges I face. In order to find out how your company can get the absolute most out of my work, I do my due diligence to determine the value of a project (because you never prescribe before you diagnose, and people who do so are selling you a commodity, and not adding value to your business). If I throw out a number like $10K, I’m immediately hit with resistance, and comments like, “Wow, we only spent $1500 on our last one”. To which I say, “Yes, I can see that…”, but that’s great because you’ve just identified the problem. You get what you pay for, and if you cheap out on the cornerstones of what defines how your brand interacts with the world, then you’re of course going to appear cheap. If you’d have made a sound investment in the first place, we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation because you’d already be hitting your mark.

Design is an investment. When done well, it’s an investment that yields returns long after the initial expense is recouped. Your website is where people go to look you up, and in turn, it’s where you get to define yourself online. If people see a clean, structured, professional looking site, or even that you’ve hired a professional to do the work, it’s a strong indicator that you run a credible business, and that you’re serious about what you do. Professionals hire professionals. If I have a leak, I call a plumber, and not because I don’t think I couldn’t watch a video on youtube and try to tackle the problem myself. I call a plumber because they’ll come and do the job right, no questions asked, and I won’t have wasted my talent, time, or effort on something that doesn’t directly contribute to the growth of my own business, and helping the people I serve through the work I do. You do what you do, and I do what I do, and if all goes to plan, we help each other’s business grow.

If you question the value of branding done right, then I challenge you to look around. Look at your phone, your shoes, and your car, and tell me that you went out, did the responsible thing and got 3 quotes for each one, and then chose the cheapest option. If you did, that’s great, and I’m happy if you’re happy, but in terms of a business relationship, I don’t think we’re going to be the right fit. On the other hand, if you bought the most functional, most stylish, most popular phone, shoes, or car, please understand that this is not a coincidence, and give me call.