This is one of the most common issues I come up against every day. At Searles Graphics our focus has always been to provide more value than any of our competitors.

Sometimes we'll be the lowest price, often we're not.

That difference between price and value is very important and often not well understood.\

Price is what you pay, value is what you get for each and every dollar you spend.

Unfortunately, value is not always quantifiable, so it's up to you to know how to measure it.

Definition of value

One of our primary services at Searles Graphics is commercial printing where we often lose print jobs to cut-rate competitors.

It happens in any business in any industry. But nine out of 10 times, customers who decide to leave us in favor of one of our bargain-basement competitors are back within a year.

Our prices haven't changed, and neither have theirs, so why would they return?

The answer is that the value we provide for any extra dollars we may charge far exceeds the price tag.

In the case of our printing services, we proofread EVERYTHING that comes into our shop; our competitors don't.

We run color proofs for EVERYTHING we put on press; our competitors don't.

We fix problems with output jobs without charging for the service; most of our competitors wouldn't have even found the problem in the first place, let alone fixed it for free.

Funny proofreading errors

In general, we are simply easier to deal with and better at what we do than our competitors.

All of these things matter. Some can be quantified, some can't.

You can quantify the cost of re-printing a job because you missed a large error before it went on press.

You can't quantify the peace of mind you get dealing with a vendor that finds those errors for you in the first place, and you can't quantify the damage to your brand that's caused by not re-printing the job (or, even better, catching the error before it reaches the public).

Remember, it's always cheaper to do something right the first time than it is to have to fix the mistakes later.

Cost of fixing software bugs

Recently I've been working with one of my smaller SEO and web design clients who had a major issue with their website.

We went as far as we could to troubleshoot the issue for them but ultimately the problem was with their hosting provider and they were unable to get us access to the hosting account to investigate further.

In recommending options to get the problem resolved, one suggestion we made was to utilize our hosting services which are more expensive than a lot of the self-host alternatives available.

They're more expensive because we add a lot of value beyond simple website hosting.

We do things like 24/7 uptime monitoring which notifies us if there's ever an issue that brings down your website.

Server down error message

We do automated backups so in the event something catastrophic occurs, we can recover quickly and easily.

We offer geographic redundancies if your data or website is mission critical so a natural disaster in one part of the world won't affect your website even if it takes out one of our datacenters.

While I won't go through all of the details, the bottom line is this issue has rendered their website all but useless for over a month.

Had we been hosting their site, it either wouldn't have happened in the first place, or it would have been fixed within hours.

Ultimately, they made the decision to move to another self-hosted provider in an effort to save about $30 / month in hosting fees.

Yes, you read that right. They chose an option that already brought their website down for a month in an effort to save $30. What's the value of your website?

So the real question is, if I gave you the option to save $30 / month on your website hosting but told you it would only be functional for 11 months each year, would you take it?

Cost matters, but not nearly as much as value.

Chris Searles is President of Searles Media and specializes in helping small businesses maximize their available resources to market themselves effectively using a wide variety of media. Visit Website

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