Thursday, October 22, 2015

Advice from SCORE to me

     I am a SCORE volunteer, but I am also a SCORE "customer." This week I had a personal mentoring session for my own company, A Better Computer, Inc.  My SCORE mentor was Bob Gaynor.  Best hour I've spent in a long time.

     My question was along the lines of how to charge for my services when I ascribe the capability to do what I do to anyone else who wants to take the time to learn.

     My biggest take-away from my meeting with BOB was to clearly define a "Statement of Work." [Note to self: kick me. I've been working under SOWs for years.  I just didn't think to apply it to my own company!]

     The Statement of Work lists the tasks that will be complete, and how to measure them. For example: to "prep" a website involves getting a domain name, signing up for web hosting, installing the content management software (Wordpress?, Joomla?), and creating the administrative accounts with secure passwords. The metric that denotes completion is for the customer to type in the URL and then log into the administrator account(s). Done.

     Another key phrase that goes with SOW is "Levels of Service."

     Next, Bob pointed out that my website listed features and not benefits! I sell domains and web hosting, but I don't tell my customers why they need them.  To sum it up: "What's the benefit?" (add to it the question "What causes you pain?")

     Whew! Those were BIG take-a-ways for me!!

     If my customer is the owner of a small business then my message should be this:


You need a Internet presence. Period. And you need a plan to do it (that's a slightly different discussion). The sole question is:

    You're a business owner:
What is the best use of your time?

     Here are your choices about the Internet:
  • You can do all the web stuff yourself. This is the least expensive choice to your pocketbook but the most expensive to your time.  (How valuable is your time? Do you really need to learn all these skills with their unique quirks and exceptions?)
    [PS: You're welcome to drop me an occasional email with a quick question of where to direct your next efforts. My answers may be slow, but they're free.]
  • I can do it all for you. This is the most expensive to your budget, perhaps up to $1,000 week for the first year.  But this is the least time-consuming to you. Your expectation should be that [1] I would generate $2,000/wk-$5,000/wk of revenue for you, or [2] you can generate that much revenue itself because you don't have to worry about the Internet.
  • We can do it together. You will get a full-time professional on a part-time basis.

     This last choice is my responsibility to complete and present.  I have to define (and price) Levels of Service, and then document them in Statements of Work.  I personally consider my webwork priorities as this: [1] Get it done. [2] Explain what I did in your behalf. [3] Teach you, or someone on your staff, how to repeat it or maintain it.

~~ Rick

Thoughts I've had since my original post but don't yet warrant a separate article:
  • Aha! Mission statement/elevator pitch: "We provide ala carte Internet services. You do what you know how to do. We do the rest."
  • Home page titles?
    "Your Small Business Internet Guide"
    "Internet Resources for Business Owners"
  • The same You_Can/I_Can/We_Can division applies to office-oriented IT services. How does a business owner create their own help desk?
  • Bert Seither suggested a business can sell t-shirts to generate revenue

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