Tips on Pricing Your Product or Service
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"A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about
profits. They will be embarrassingly large." Henry Ford
While pricing your product or service is an important consideration, I think
it receives way too much emphasis and attention. Yes, you need to price your
product/services wisely after all, you're in business to earn profits. The
problem arises when business owners hyper focus on pricing, instead of value.
Below are some general tips on pricing. However, it's important that you note
1. I am hesitant to recommend universal pricing strategies for all products
and services because critical variables differ significantly by industry,
geography, personal goals, size, location, and many other reasons. But since you
understand your resources, costs, forecasts, and goals better than anyone,
you'll have to fill in the blanks.
2. I am not an expert in business (or personal) finance. This website is
devoted to helping you become an excellent marketer. So, while it's appropriate
that I cover pricing and financial planning as part of the marketing process it
would be irresponsible to delve much further.
1. Make sure you consult with an objective financial advisor - one that
specializes in small business investment capital, cash flow management, and the
like. Many, many small businesses go under due to lack of proper funding. Make
sure you have enough money, particularly in the first couple of years, to
weather unexpected storms.
2. Arrive at ballpark pricing by assigning costs by product. You can start
with your costs and work up or begin with a proposed price and work back. Here's
an illustration how of this works:
Let's assume I am (once again) a widget retailer and the following is true:
Money I receive when I sell one widget $10.00 * Less labor and materials
(costs to produce one widget) or my cost of goods sold (COGS) * Labor (yours or
anyone else's) - 2.00 * Materials - 1.00
Gross Profit (amount of money I'm left) $7.00 This means my gross profit
margin is 70% * Less Administrative Costs (rent, utilities, office supplies,
furniture, mgmt. salaries, etc.) - .80 * Less Marketing (signage, advertising,
on-hold music, business cards, specialty ad items, etc.) - 1.20
Net Margin (before taxes) $5.00 50%
How do you assign administrative and marketing costs by product? Simply
divide the total amount you've spent in each category over a specific period of
time. Then figure out what percentage of your total budget (for the same period
of time) they represent. Deduct that percentage amount off your sales price.
For example, let's say I sold $500,000 worth of products last year. Of that,
my $10-widget accounted for 50% of the sales, or $250,000. My total
administrative and marketing outlays only were $100,000.
Since my $10-widget was 50% of my business I'll assign that product the same
percentage of costs, or $50,000?c $20,000 for administrative expenses and
$30,000 on marketing. Based on earning of $250,000 I should deduct $20,000 or 8%
for administrative costs, and $30,000 or 12% for marketing expenses - $.80 and
Please do not assume that any of these are standard percentages... they vary
widely. If your company is new you'll obviously have to use your forecast
3. Perceptual Pricing Categories: A simple way to begin pricing for
start-ups, is to put your products, services or company into one of three
The first is the "elite" group. These businesses are considered "upper crust"
(outstanding services, exceptional products, exquisite environment, and other
factors) and their products or services are priced accordingly.
The second group consists of the A- to B+ companies. Their pricing is
competitive with others in their industry - whether that's "steep or cheap".
Most small businesses fit into this category.
The third-class of companies fit into the "plain-folk-down-home-workingman"
pricing strategies group. They are symbolic of the outlet mind-set but once
again, this is no reflection on their products' value or quality.
At first glance these might appear arbitrary and silly, but place your
company into one of the three categories. (Remember, while each appeal to
different audiences they are equally valid and offer comparable value in the
Next, use the objective product pricing you've already established and check
to make sure it's in line with other companies in your group. If so, reduce the
selected price by a small amount- $1.00 to $5.00 is usually enough.
This is a simple and brilliant way to ensure that you, your customers and
your wallet are thrilled - and you're not competing on price!
About the Author
Mary Eule specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses get and
keep profitable customers. Formerly a Fortune 500 marketing executive; founder
of two successful small businesses and award-winning speaker, Ms. Eule is
President of Strategic Marketing Advisors, LLC. and co-author of a new book,
"Mandatory Marketing: Small Business Edition".
She has a BA in Journalism/English from the University of Maryland and earned
her a master's degree in marketing from Johns Hopkins University. Log onto her
http://www.StrategicMarketingAdvisors.com for free articles, newsletter and
helpful marketing tools, tips and templates, and/or to purchase the book.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-04-15 19:20:01 in Business Articles