The StreetSmart “Law of Business” in the Digital Age
“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make
a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider
price alone are that person’s lawful prey.
It is unwise to pay too much, but it is also unwise to pay too little.
When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that is all.
When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because
the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot…
It can’t be done.
If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run.
And if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
(The ‘Law of Business’ by John Ruskin, 1819 – 1900)
Written over 100 years ago, John Ruskin’s ‘Law of Business’ is still highly relevant today in the Digital Age.
With today’s technology and global labour pools, it is appears to be possible to pay a little and get a lot. It’s also possible to totally waste your money by paying too little – or get seriously ripped off by paying too much.
With eCommerce websites costing anything from “Free” to a low monthly fee and upwards to millions of dollars, it is easy to get confused when you compare different systems and solutions from different suppliers.
It’s not about paying the least money or the most money. In the world of eCommerce, you are not guaranteed to get a better solution if you pay a lot more. And you can almost guarantee that the cheapest solution may not be the wisest.
There are many ways you can save money, especially if you’re streetsmart. But being streetsmart is about getting GOOD VALUE, not cheap prices.
With web systems, you can get the benefit of proven software at low prices delivered at little cost at huge global scale. This almost defies John Ruskin’s Law of Business.
Whatever the price of the software systems, you must expect to pay a reasonable price for ‘the services’ from humans who help you implement and use the software and related technology.
Of course, you can find low cost humans, especially if you use off-shore humans located in low-cost countries. And this is where, as John Ruskin says, you must remember to add on something for the risks you run. Communication risks, project management risks, interpretation risks, re-working risks, time-delay risks… And risks associated with virtual human resources that disappear or get better offers during or after your project development phases.
Be careful! Low cost humans who provide bad services or no service at all can kill your business.
Paying too much isn’t smart either. Not being able to afford to continually pay overly expensive fees from local Australian web companies and eCommerce service providers can also kill your business, especially when you are locked into painfully expensive and non-productive relationships with the providers.
It’s about balance. You need to be able to rely on the help, guidance and advice from affordable suppliers you can trust. And you need to get what you pay for, when you need it.
Price will always be one consideration, but for the sake of the future of your business, the streetsmart approach is to not let price be your main consideration when choosing your solution providers.
As John Ruskin has written, if you pay too little, it is possible that what you bought will not work for you at all. It is often worth paying a little more to make sure you are able to get what need.
This is especially true when it comes to setting up a business on the Internet.
By Richard Keeves.