In the 30+ years I’ve been an adult in the workforce, it never ceases to amaze me that in 2012 there are companies that continue to employ techniques that are destined to destroy their credibility and business along with it.

I am speaking of the dreaded low-ball, price cutting business – and I don’t mean WalMart. I can’t say this clearly enough: Price cutting is not a method of growing your business. In fact, it’s a surefire way to weaken your business, stunt its growth, and make it more vulnerable to attacks by the competition. This is because you can’t fight perception. And because there is no such thing as good cheap stuff, the perception is that making something cheap automatically cheapens it.

Unfortunately, many people start businesses without a concrete pricing plan – in fact without a business plan or marketing plan at all. Their thinking is “let’s just open up and we’ll figure out the pricing as we go.”

When I started my first company back in 1994, I provided a myriad of computer services – new equipment sales, network design and support, software and hardware repairs, and a full line of web development services. Over the years I have had to adapt to market conditions and evolve the business into what was best for me as an entrepreneur and what is best for the customers I serve. Cutting prices has never been part of that evolution because of the value of the services I provide.

As I’ve grown from a one-man show into an international service provider with a contracted team of 23 trained professionals, the value of my services continues to increase. I have managed to keep overhead at a minimum by closing a 2400+ square foot sales office and training facility, opting to contract for space when needed.

Our goal is to provide clients with the best results – and a cheap website will NEVER accomplish that goal. In fact, in most cases your business would be better off with no website than one that’s poorly designed. Here are a few thoughts and tips when seeking a web designer:

  • If a company claims to be top quality, professional grade, expert, or any other adjective, make them prove it with samples of their work and references. Ask for 15-20 samples of their work. Have them show you, not tell you, how they are getting results for their clients.
  • If they claim to do SEO – make them show you their techniques. Many supposed SEO specialists participate in practices known as black hat and gray hat techniques. They can and will hurt your business if you employ them.
  • Ask them questions. My favorite is what I call the Sarah Palin question. “What industry magazines and publications do you read?” This will show you their commitment to improving their knowledge. Another favorite is “What do you know about Google’s most recent algorithm changes.” If they look at you with that clueless face, you’ve got your answer.
  • Look at their own website. Is it complete? Does it look professional. Is it easy to navigate? Can you easily search for it and find it in Google?

In the last 18 years we’ve seen plenty of them come and go. The latest entries to the competitive field have an uphill climb – and cutting prices at the start sets the table for their demise. Proceed with caution.

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