Posts Tagged ‘value’

Being Expert: Bringing Personal Value to Those Around You

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

I’ve written recently about how our economy is fundamentally changing. Everything seems to be disrupted and in a state of chaos. Normally routine business and established practices no longer function as they used to. Entire industries are being transformed along with the people in them. This brings me to the subject of today’s post, being an expert in your space and how you bring value to those around you.

In the past, our value was defined by how much we knew combined with the experience we accumulated over time. If you are truly an expert, every hour of everyday brings new experience and personal growth.

Those that find themselves in trouble today are the ones who learned their primary skill set a long time ago and have resisted learning more. They simply took what they were trained in and used it over and over, in a static kind of way. They would become more proficient at their daily performance and execution, much in the same way a golfer gets better at their swing if they practice the same swing over and over a thousand times. This is call “grooving.” Once you’re in a groove it is very difficult to get out of it. Grooving works very well when the skill does not require change to remain valuable.

In the knowledge or professional arena, our value was defined by how much knowledge we had and how specialized that knowledge was. If it was difficult material that took a long time to master, all the better. This meant we could charge more for our understanding of this knowledge. Think doctors, lawyers, and CPA’s. You could also think of master craftsmen as well.

This is the way we used to position ourselves and bring value, have knowledge that is hard to find, access, duplicate, and master.

Things are different now. With the rate at which technology, markets, and economies are changing, simply having the knowledge or experience is no longer enough. To remain an “expert” you must remain relevant to those you serve. To maintain your position of authority and value requires another skill set few truly master. It begins with the ability to be observational and recognize which elements of change are at work.

Simply observing isn’t the answer. The true answer is the ability to draw upon your knowledge and experience to synthesize new opportunities and solutions. This is an amazing time to be alive. There is so much disruptive change and technology around us.

The current recession and underlying permanent unemployment are perfect examples. The economies that are recovering quickly are the ones with low cost labor that can do many of the things our own skilled blue collar labor used to do. Now even our white collar workers are being outsourced by low cost offshore labor.

With rapid, pervasive change everywhere, we all have the opportunity to re-invent and redefine our value and skills. Our individual expertise comes from the ability to respond to these disruptive changes with innovative solutions that bring value to our customers and clients. As uncomfortable as change is, this is an amazing time of opportunity for those that can recognized and innovate new solutions.

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More on Establishing Your Value

Friday, February 6th, 2009

I recently read a post by one of my Facebook friends regarding establishing value:

What is a good way to guarantee high price services (such as graphic design) besides guaranteeing a membership fee?

We agonize over this. A great way to start is to make a list of how many things you do that add value, whether you are currently charging or not. When you are done, put a $$ amount next to each value item. My list has 24 items.

I used to think I worked primarily in a commodity driven industry (printed t shirts.) When all is said and done, our clients will have a much better idea of exactly what we do, how it will benefit them, and what to expect. It also acts to level the field between you and your competition because I guarantee none of your competitors are doing this. If your customers are shopping, you have now given them a comprehensive list for comparison of apples to apples.

Here are some of the things you use to separate yourself from your competition:

    All aspects of your product or service.
    Associated services related to your product or service.
    Payment terms.
    Your Guarantee or Risk Reversal.
    Quality practices (list the steps.)
    Material handling and check-in procedures.
    Your vendor resources.
    Overall resources (machines, building, space, etc.)
    Reputation.
    Association with your other customers and clients.
    Service policies.
    Client education.
    Bundles/bonuses

You get the idea. The list can be huge once you sit down and really start to think about the REAL value you provide to your customers/clients.

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