Is Your Small Business Too Cheap?

It’s time to take my little Chihuahua, Lexie, to her annual check-up. For the past few years, I‘ve gone to this exclusive vet practice that is incredibly expensive; in fact, they’re the priciest practice for miles around.

Even though I’m not one who wants to sacrifice good vet care, I’m also not a big fan of dishing out hundreds of dollars for a simple rabies shot. So, I decided to try a vet who is known to have the “best prices” in town. In fact, this guy is 50% less than my pricey vet.

It took me about 30 seconds to figure out why he’s so cheap.

First of all, when you walk up to his little building, it’s dirty and drab and begging for a fresh coat of paint. The grass is overgrown and running amok with knee-high weeds.

It doesn’t get much better once you get inside. The 1970 wallpaper is peeling off the walls and it looks like the waiting room hasn’t been cleaned for a couple of years at best. (The clumps of big-fur balls trapped in the corners are the clue.)

And that’s not all. This vet doesn’t have a nurse so he personally checks you in. And, of course, he doesn’t have a receptionist or a computer. He just types up the bill on his old, electric computer. You have to admit, this guy knows how to save a buck or two!

Now, putting all this “cheapness” aside, he actually is a good vet and knows what he’s talking about. He’s been in business for over 35 years and has pretty much seen it all.

But, even if this guy was James Herriot himself, while I’m sitting in his dirty, run-down office, I don’t feel too confident about the entire experience. It just seems like he’s cutting too many corners. And so, despite his competency, I’ll probably look for another vet who is not so – cheap.

Obviously, when you have the lowest prices, you’re going to have to give up other things as well: repainting your walls, hiring a cleaning service or investing money back into the growth of your small business.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an online business or offline business, there is a point in which you can be too cheap and sacrifice of the overall success of your small business.

So, what’s the solution? You need to find that happy medium.

If you‘re running an offline business then you need to paint your building, take down the peeling wallpaper and get a cleaning service. You should buy a used computer (And while you’re at it, put up a Facebook Business Page). And, in order to pay for all these new bells and whistles, you may have to raise your prices just a bit.

And, if you are an online business you can fall into the “too cheap” trap as well. You don’t want your prospects coming to your site only to feel uncertain about your professionalism. You need to invest in a professional-looking website, pay for hosting that keeps your website online and purchase a shopping cart.

You’re a small business owner on a shoestring budget, so you certainly don’t have to dish out a lot of money; but, you do need to find that happy medium.


Jessica Swanson is the Founder and CEO of Shoestring Marketing, a marketing agency that provides low-cost marketing services to small business owners.

Head on over to Jessica's website to download her free Shoestring Marketing Kit to discover hundreds of ways to market your own small business without spending a lot of money.

Go Deeper | Website

Want More?

New Graphic
Subscriber Counter