“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” ~Warren Buffett

Giant ValueThere are conflicting voices out there about value. They are in disagreement about how to create it and even what it is. With all this confusion, is value worth pursuing?

First, let’s light on a definition. Let’s agree that value is the worth of something. So far, so good. The problem is “worth” is in the eye of the beholder. If you are like me, you very much value your time. Therefore, everything you do that takes time should result in a commensurate amount of compensation. Are you finding that your world often doesn’t work like that?

The problem is that the receivers of your time (or anything else) have a different perspective for determining value. This is the valuation that controls how abundant or how skimpy your compensation will be.

Then Walmart Got Involved

Like big businesses are wont to do, they have commandeered the word and even the concept of value. If you go to a big box store, you will see “Value!” plastered everywhere. The funny thing is, it will be plastered on their least expensive and, more importantly, cheapest products.

The idea behind this isn’t all bad. If the price is low and the product is adequate to the task, the value is in fact good. But here is the rub: do you want to be in a low margin business or a high margin business?

Amazon and Costco and Kroger are making a good go of the low margin business. I’m not knocking it. But for most of us, the scale necessary to make a low margin business work makes it highly undesirable.

Valuable Smoke and Mirrors

The answer that some entrepreneurs come to is “salesmanship”. Unfortunately, the idea they have in mind is more hucksterism. You can’t just spin a good yarn about what you offer. Sure, your message must be compelling. But at the end of the day the value will have to match the marketing.

Fear and Loathing in Business

All right everybody, it’s just us here. You can say it out loud. You are afraid that you and what you offer really aren’t that valuable.

Snap out of it!

For crying out loud, this is no time to get weak or spout false modesty. What you do is awesome, you’re fantastic and it’s high time the world knew it. (If this isn’t true for you right now, it can be fixed. Go here to fix it.)

We Have to Break Up – It’s Not Me, It’s You

One of your problems may be that you are offering yourself, your products and your services to those who do not appreciate you. Life is too short…no, life is too long to sell to the wrong market.

I paid $7 the other day for a pound of potatoes. That’s nuts, right? You could probably buy a 25 pound bag of spuds for that. But the nice lady that sold them to me was not vending out of the grocery section of Walmart. We were at an all-organic farmers market in the Peoples Republic of Berkeley, California. There are lots of reasons why people will pay more is my point. Oh and by the way, these were the best potatoes I have ever put in my mouth. I will be back for more.

Somebody’s Getting the Big Bucks

Are there any players in your space who command a higher, even much higher price than you? What are they doing that you aren’t? This is not a rhetorical question. You really must dig in and figure out what they are doing that you aren’t. It’s not that hard, you just have to make it a priority.

Once you figure this all out, you may get discouraged. In fact, it is the nagging suspicion that you will find out some unpleasant things that often holds people back from even making such an inquiry. My wife likes to tell her female clients, “Put on your big girl panties!” Fellas, while I would choose a different analogy, I can’t argue with her intention. If you want to be in business you have to pay attention to what’s working.

“Do you know the difference between ‘value’ and value?” click to tweet

So you can offer value as the “bargain” vendor, or you can offer value as the premier vendor. It is worth the effort to determine and create what is actually seen as premier by your prospects.

What is your value? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Photo credit: Jason Schlachet

The Difference Between “Value” and Value
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2 thoughts on “The Difference Between “Value” and Value

  • Permalink

    Boy, I have ever been caught giving great value to people who don’t value it. How are you supposed to get people to see that what you do is valuable anyway?

    • Permalink

      The quick answer is you don’t. You are looking to solve the wrong problem. It is far easier to find people who value your work than to convince those who don’t.


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