What Happens When You Over-OVER Deliver?

February 10, 2012

in Business

over delivering

When I was working as a solo-preneur, it was common place for me to go to extra mile and under promise and over deliver. There were many times I ended up working for free, or literally for free, and gave my client way more than they expected.

Unfortunately, as I found out recently, this over-OVER delivering is too difficult to do in an agency model. What happened was we recently bent over backwards and gave several of our clients services above and beyond what they paid for. Now, we are still on the under promise and over deliver mindset as we like to do extra for our clients, however, we went way too far to the other end of the over delivering spectrum and gave away thousands of dollars of services and acted on our clients beck and call beyond what we promised.

It was our own fault of course, we deliberately dove into the work in the beginning as it was fun (we love what we do) and we wanted to impress. But after over a month went by when everyone started looking at our compensation model we suddenly realized that we shouldn’t have done it this way and things got a little heaty.

The problem was we did a lot of extra services that we didn’t anticipate and gave too much for the services that we did agree to. Also, the pricing model that we were using was really adapted for solo-preneurs, coaching and really small/starting businesses and didn’t work for our agency – unless we were willing to work extra hard and burn ourselves out with every client, which we weren’t.

So I spent a lot of time, perhaps the last six weeks going over our rate structure and our offerings and trying to understand how other agencies do it and survive. I came up with several models of pricing and yesterday I finally had that light bulb moment and I understood clearly what we should do moving forward.

The timing is great because we are right on track with our development goals, which should be done by the end of February as planned. In fact, I’m about to write out our internal manuals and then get to the sales portion, which is something that I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t have to juggle all the other parts of running an agency as well.

I’m deliberately slowing us down now to get some real development in as I knew that every part of the agency development would need time to sit, settle, and gestate. It would be so much simpler if we could get it right the first time out, but (un)fortunately, it seldom works out this way. I suppose this is why the majority of marketing companies (and most other companies) are struggling and aren’t doing as well as they could – they didn’t spend enough time on themselves getting it right.

I do feel good about where we going, about making all these sacrifices (no client = no income from the company) so we can move in a big way in the future.

This reminds me of a joke. A father bull and a baby bull were walking along a hill when they spotted a herd of cows grazing on the grass. The baby bull got all excited and started jumping up and down, “daddy, daddy, hurry up, lets run down the hill so we can fuck ourselves a cow!” The father bull just smiled, hardly missing a beat, obviously not in hurry. “Slow down son. Lets take our time and walk down there so we can….”. Well, you know the rest.

Ronald Lee

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