Stop Buying Conversation Starters & Develop Your Business.

Once you take away all of the shiny toys, we all become the same.

You may have made the same mistakes that I did when starting  my company nearly ten years ago. I was young. Stupid. I secured a large business loan and proceeded to buy everything I thought the company needed. In cash. Sound familiar? I had a kid in the candy store sort of mentality. But instead of each piece of candy costing $1, each piece was several hundred dollars. Sometimes even several thousand. I could have saved $15,000 by simply using what I had readily available. Instead, I wanted to purchase cutting edge and stylish. Why didn’t anyone state the obvious to me? I fell prey to the allure of shiny new things to represent my skill set and ambition.

But all it is, is an expensive conversation starter.

The way we conduct business has changed drastically over the last decade. Those shiny toys we used to decorate our office walls with now reside in home offices for many of us. As technology advances we shift focus to building strategic telecommuting teams. Clients don’t want to pay an agency that has a brick and mortar building full of employees. They want to hire the best people for the job. They don’t care if you have a fancy office in a historic part of your city. Sure, it’s sexy. But all it is, is an expensive conversation starter.

Remember, you are the commodity in your business.

This may sound crazy to you but it took me quite awhile to learn that the experience you provide clients is worth far more than your packaging.

Your clients are buying into you. Once we peal back the onion skin of technology costs, software upgrades and brand names you will find that we all have a skill set that transcends the cost of influence. The ability to use pen and paper. To vocalize without our fingertips pressed against a keyboard. Once you take away all of the shiny toys, we all become the same.

Now, without the aid of your toys, what can you offer your clients that will separate you from your competitors?

How often do you meet face to face with clients?

9 Comments

  1. MegReplyJuly 29, 2010 at 7:45 am 

    Oh, that hits HOME with this Apple lover! ;) Meh… I like pretty packaging. But you're absolutely right, tinsel and toys quickly fade away in light of substantive content/experience. So I can justify teaching myself how to use a few expensive pieces of software by using the crap outta their 30-day free trial versions?! :D (Secret /happydance.)

  2. MikeReplyAugust 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm 

    That's cool that you get that. And I hope that I get that. But what to do about so much of the business world that still doesn't get it. Some clients don't feel like they are getting value unless they are doing business with someone on the cutting edge. We both know that's rubbish. I say this as I've spent the last two weeks wrestling over buying an iPad because it might grease the wheels selling the value I offer.

  3. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm 

    The important question is if you NEED the product to grow in some way. Otherwise it becomes an unnecessary purchase from a business standpoint. Will purchasing product X grow your revenue stream? Will it allow you to be more efficient?

    Purchases from a personal standpoint don't fall under the pretense of this article :)

  4. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 2, 2010 at 8:37 pm 

    Thanks Mike. I only get that now because I didn't get that 7 years ago when I took the leap.

    I've learned that the clients wanting to see your fancy toys and hear buzz words for the sake of what they are, are not the clients I want to do business with. Sure, I could take their money easily but what satisfaction does it provide me as a creative and business owner?

    Hell, I WANT an iPad. I have struggled to find a reason that I NEED it since launch though. Which is why I still don't have one. To be honest, I don't have an iPod either. It literally took me 60 seconds to remember what it was called just to type that. :)

    If you build apps for a living, or mobile compatible sites, having an iPad to show clients makes 100% sense. Let me know if you get it. I'd like to borrow it ;)

  5. MegReplyAugust 3, 2010 at 7:29 am 

    I am at work at the moment (shhh) typing on a 24″ iMac, sitting comfortably next to my WiFi & 3G iPad & iPhone, trying to decide if I should break out the 15″ MacBook Pro for some iPhoto work. … .. . My boss (CMO, part-owner) just happens to like Apple products, so our small/medium size company sports Macs. :) Is that more of a personal purchase/choice/decision? Can self-employed individual make purchase decisions for their business based on personal preference?

    It seems your article is primarily directed at the motive behind purchasing very expensive products, versus the purchases themselves… the motive that says, “This expensive equipment will make my business endeavors more worthwhile to some people,” or, “Having this and that brand will make me more reputable to the kind of clients for whom I want to work.” — but personal preference, or a different motive, has no bearing here?

    (P.s.- there's very little reason to NEED an iPad, just to let you know. Doesn't support Flash, how dumb is that?!)

  6. MegReplyAugust 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm 

    I am at work at the moment (shhh) typing on a 24″ iMac, sitting comfortably next to my WiFi & 3G iPad & iPhone, trying to decide if I should break out the 15″ MacBook Pro for some iPhoto work. … .. . My boss (CMO, part-owner) just happens to like Apple products, so our small/medium size company sports Macs. :) Is that more of a personal purchase/choice/decision? Can self-employed individual make purchase decisions for their business based on personal preference?nnIt seems your article is primarily directed at the motive behind purchasing very expensive products, versus the purchases themselves… the motive that says, “This expensive equipment will make my business endeavors more worthwhile to some people,” or, “Having this and that brand will make me more reputable to the kind of clients for whom I want to work.” — but personal preference, or a different motive, has no bearing here?nn (P.s.- there’s very little reason to NEED an iPad, just to let you know. Doesn’t support Flash, how dumb is that?!)

  7. MikeReplyAugust 3, 2010 at 10:38 am 

    Alright, you talked me out of it ;) It's hard to beat a good old yellow ruled notepad in a meeting anyway.

  8. MikeReplyAugust 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm 

    Alright, you talked me out of it ;) It’s hard to beat a good old yellow ruled notepad in a meeting anyway.

  9. Shadow_PantherReplyAugust 14, 2010 at 2:24 am 

    I would like to exchange links with your site http://www.joshuagarity.com
    Is this possible?

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