I was looking at a sound company to bid a project and this paragraph from a blog post really jumped out at me:
We, as an industry, collectively let this happen. We are now reaping what we’ve sown out of fear of the bottom line. There is absolutely no reason not to be profitable with this design build model. In fact, it has proven time and time again that design build is not only better quality, but it is faster and cheaper and has very little red tape to tie it down. It allows for a better end user experience and much better bang for the buck. We all want to make a profit. That is why we are in business. We simply should not make money the first priority over the reputation attached to what it is we have produced. The money will always come to those who show passion and excellence in the work that they do.
In context, he’s bemoaning the death of the apprenticeships/relationships that were the bed rock of audio engineer training, but the principle here transcends industry segments. The quesiton that every business leader must ask him or herself is simple: how much is my reputation worth? Yes it will up the cost and yes that will either eat at your profit margins or eat at your competitive pricing, but that’s the cost of doing quality business. And that’s a choice you have to make.
It’s also an important market consideration. When putting together a business plan, one question that frequently gets missed is, “Does my market want quality?” If they do, then you have to prove that you have it. If they don’t, then you have to either (1) provide the quality they want or (2) educate them. Both are tricky situations.
The point is, if you want to provide a quality good or service then you have to sell the quality, not just the good or service.