Have you seen the new commercial from Office Depot about the Barber? It was recently featured on AdWeek, and made me think of how much we all have to offer in our businesses.

Recessions and other hard times we control come and go and the first thing many entrepreneurs want to do is cut their prices. Some of my partners on various projects wanted me to, just like the barber in the commercial. But I know what it costs to do a quality job, and our margins are thin enough already. If anything, we should be raising prices, but I refuse to do that until we can’t help it, at least until we’re clear of the recession.

So many people think you have to cut prices to compete, but experience has taught me that people who are only concerned with cost are not the greatest customers in the world. Not to mention that most of the time, to cut costs, you also have to cut quality.

If you want to compete, there are other things to compete on besides price. Like what?

Well, if you didn’t watch the commercial above, let me explain what it was about and you’ll see for yourself one obvious place. Quick summary: a local barber is charging $15 for quality haircuts. A chain moves in offering $6 haircuts across the street from him. He creates a banner to hang on his shop that says “We fix $6 haircuts”. The competition is run out of business.

You got it: quality.

You can compete on quality, speed, customer service, variety of selection, personal service, automated check-out, catering to certain demographics like Work at Home Moms, or personality types, like techies who don’t want to stand in line at the store and can order your widget online.

The only problem you may have is in finding that audience. If you do, call us up. Or email. Or reply to the blog post.

You get the picture. 🙂

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