New Year’s Resolutions for Mediapreneurs

It could be said that last year my New Year’s resolution was 1280 x 720p. <laugh track />

Here are some resolutions that aren’t too difficult to stick with, but will yield fantastic results for your business.

  • Abandon cost plus pricing for good. Basing a bid on costs plus some arbitrary percentage is a recipe for disaster. It leaves a lot of money on the table, and limits your ability to invest in growing the business. Most of us don’t sell a commodity product. Instead we offer a unique collection of services and areas of expertise. Rather than focusing on the cost to provide the service, calculate the cost to the client to shop around and get your services from other vendors.
  • Grab a larger section of the value chain. That’s the MBA way of saying offer more one-stop shopping experiences to clients. Not only do you experience economies of scale, you raise the client’s switching costs.
  • Set and track aggressive revenue goals. In the day-to-day world of small businesses the calculus often goes something like this: “I’m busy, so I’m doing well.” Let the top line be your guide. Are you moving up the value chain and doing higher margin work, or are you treading water? Just because the economy is slowing doesn’t mean you have to. Historically my best business growth has occurred during “slow” years because competitors are hunkering down, settling for breaking even. Calculate your monthly billings and compare them to the previous year’s.
  • Contain costs. Target the low hanging fruit. In the old days (1990s) the prevailing wisdom was to leave equipment on all night. Last year I got in the habit of shutting down at night. My electric bill decreased noticeably. Xprove was born partly of my desire to contain my skyrocketing FedEx bills. (Excuse the self-serving plug.) Also, look at the cost of hardware and software upgrades — not just the money spent buying the stuff, but the time spent installing and configuring it, and the cost of disposing of old hardware. Be aggressive here. If an upgrade can’t pay for itself quickly, pass.

These rules apply to all businesses, but it’s my right-brained colleagues in the independent media biz who seem to break them the most.

Oh, and my resolution? Since I was a kid I have always been careful to make resolutions I could keep, like giving up cauliflower. This year I’m going to be more adventurous, while still stopping short of giving up a really fun vice. So my resolution is to find a new home for my blog that will allow me to devote more resources to writing, and work with the most respected writers in the business. Stay tuned.

2 Thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions for Mediapreneurs

  1. Cool, Frank. How exactly do we calculate the cost for the client to shop around?

  2. Shop around. Seriously, what you can do is roughly calculate your competitions’ costs — you hire from the same talent pool, have roughly the same equipment, etc. That gives you a baseline. (it’s OK to arrive at this number using cost plus.) Then figure how long it will take the client to do the shopping.

    Often you’ll find that the deadline dictates that the client doesn’t have enough time to put a competitive package together, and your value might be as much as twice (or more) the price you would have arrived at via cost plus accounting.

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