Merrimack Analysis Group
Class: 2013 Summer Accelerator
Online identity and security. Seminars for student groups, parent groups, job seekers, and senior citizens that help explain the ins and outs of digital footprint. Proprietary analytic software to review social media profiles. Consulting engagements by request.
Yesterday's class focused on the single-most difficult area for me right now: pricing.
Now that we've demonstrated that we can deliver a product that people demand, we've cleared an important hurdle. However, the next hurdle is an order of magnitude higher -- can we get 'the pricing thing' right?
Our initial sales channels won't allow me to leave any of my current part-time positions, let alone allow my co-founder to leave his full-time position. Many of our initial clients have indicated that they would like to have us return for a fee, but we haven't gotten down to the brass tacks about what, exactly, that fee would be. If we charge too little, we're under-selling ourselves...and making our lives harder down the road, should we need to adjust our pricing upwards. But if we charge too much, we risk losing clients, which no early-stage venture wants to do.
One of the best things I heard in the class yesterday was this: the forces of the market will set your price. That thought puts me at ease -- not just because I'm an Adam Smith devotee, but also because it helps me chart the course ahead for MAG in terms of pricing.
Right now, most of our sales contacts are outbound. In other words, we're the ones making the call or initiating the e-mail. In those situations, the person being sold TO has more leverage.
Over time, the balance of our sales contacts should shift. As more inquiries come inbound to us, we can play around with pricing a bit more. When people are reaching out to request our service, we will have more leverage. As our calendar begins to fill up, we can be choosier about what sorts of venues we go to, and what we'll accept in terms of fees.
We're not there yet.
Eventually, that will change. The way there isn't exactly clear. Some of our initial gigs have led us to bigger and better things, while others have taken us down some detours and dead-ends. For right now, my answer to that is just to keep driving forward, working through the channels we've got while adding new ones whenever appropriate.
As the old marketing adage goes, "I get all my sales from 50% of my advertising. The only problem is, I don't know which half."
Or, as AC/DC says, "It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll."