The past few years have been, quite frankly, devastating to many businesses. Budgets have shrunk or disappeared altogether. Many companies are scrambling to fight over a shrinking piece of pie. And, worse, many others are fighting over the crumbs left over by their competitors.
I was recently speaking to an event company about this very issue the other day. They have seen their revenues shrink dramatically over the last couple of years. As a result, they have been tempted to take on significantly smaller projects to get their feet in the door of large corporations, in hopes of being able to work on their large projects.
Here’s the problem with this model:
It devalues your work
If you were pitching Apple’s annual 5,000 person gala event, would you show them a $1,000 event you’ve done? Of course not. It sells your business short. It puts you in a box and tells your potential client that you’re a $1,000 event company. Working on a client’s small events in hopes of scoring their large events can have a similar outcome.
It devalues your reputation
Reputation is one of the biggest assets a company can have. You can’t buy a good reputation, you earn it. And, you earn it with every single transaction your business has when engaging your customers or your employees. If your business isn’t set up to do small events, you’ve opened yourself up to 2 problems:
1. You run the very real risk of not being able to service this small project well. You’ll likely find that this small project takes up as much time and as many resources as your larger jobs, but you’ll be inclined to scale your services based on the revenue you’re getting for the project. Or, you’ll over-service the project and demotivate your employees when they see that the value they’re providing is only worth a pittance in the customer’s eyes. In other words, it’s likely you won’t meet either your customer’s or your employee’s expectations.
2. If you can’t meet your client’s expectations on the small project, how could they possibly believe that you’ll exceed their expectations on a large one?
It uses up valuable resources
Just imagine what you could accomplish if you refocused your resources to attracting the types customers you do great business with or growing your existing customers. I will guarantee that this time will be worth significantly more short and long term than taking small projects to cover your overhead.
Think before you accept that project
Before you think about taking on that small job, ask yourself what the cost to your business will be. If there’s a risk of devaluing your business, under-servicing a client, de-motivating your employees or affecting your reputation, don’t take the project. And remember that turning down business can be one of the best ways to build confidence and reinforce your expertise.