Conventional wisdom has it that there are only three ways to
grow your business: find new customers, increase the amount
of each sale to existing customers or get customers to buy
more frequently. But I've seen business owners go blank
when presented with those three options. So here is a more
useful list of ways to increase your total revenues without
in most cases having to put in more hours at the office.
1. Charge by the project rather than by the hour. Hourly
fees are a death trap for the experienced professional. You
get penalized for being able to zoom right in to the nub of
the problem and its solution. If you are good at what you
do, instead provide customized quotes for each whole
project. Most clients prefer this anyhow, so that they know
in advance what they will owe you. The exception is when
you can't nail down the scope of the project before getting
started; in that case alone, revert to hourly fees.
2. Boost your exclusivity and perceived value. If you
emphasize that you don't sell to just anyone who shows up at
your door, but you have certain criteria for the clients you
choose to serve, people become more eager to engage your
services. Likewise, if you drive home the value that you
provide with testimonials, case studies, client lists and
specific results you have achieved in the past, you'll get a
greater return from all the marketing you're already doing.
3. Create higher-end, higher-priced programs and options. A
photographer friend of mine learned that people enjoy
options to select from, and they most like to select the
next-to-most-expensive option. So to increase her income
from framed family portraits, she simply offered a larger
and more expensive frame as the biggest option. Customers
were then more likely to choose the second biggest, which
cost more than the previous second biggest frame.
4. Create a repeat-billing product or service instead of
selling one-shot products or services. Get clients to sign
on to some sort of ongoing service plan, and you get a
longer, larger return from each of your marketing efforts.
For the photographer, this could be a plan for enlargements
tailored for a number of holidays spread throughout the
year, such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas and
5. Revise your current products and services for a
specialized market and charge more. Whatever the industry,
people believe they have special needs and therefore they
will pay more for products and services specifically for
them. By making small and in many cases insignificant
changes in your offerings, you can increase people's
willingness to pay more for your items or your knowledge.
6. Sell related products and services - your own or someone
else's - to current and past customers. Hair stylists
easily sell mousse and conditioner to their clients, who
want to look as great when they're on their own as they do
when walking out of the salon. When people buy from you,
what else do they typically need to enjoy a complete
solution to their problem? Mark up the offerings of other
service or product providers along with your own, and your
total revenues go up.
7. Make it possible for clients to prepay and "stock up" on
your services or products. I pay for the next winter's fuel
each summer and get a lower price per gallon, and the fuel
company gets lots more money earlier. Similarly, offer a
slight discount for six months or a year's worth of your
consulting services, and your cash flow can instantly
8. Simply raise your prices. Most entrepreneurs charge too
little and are thereby earning less than they could with
every sale. Raise the price of your book from $17.95 to
$19.95, or of your fee for cleaning teeth from $90 to $99.
Usually there's little or no resistance from your market.
Sometimes with a significant raise in prices, you lose some
customers but revenues increase overall. That's the goal!
Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps
to Free Publicity and 10 other books. She runs a private
member site, MarketingforMore.com, which supports business
owners who are growing their businesses. Learn how to avoid
the most common pricing mistakes in her free report, "Charge
More & Get It," available from