Creating and managing your online business requires you to follow the same basic principals of any business - relying on sound Business Strategies. There are however, a few practices that differ or that just are unique to an online business. Here we share our views and experience with you to help you develop a more effective and profitable online business.

Valuing your services is critical to staying in business

The service industry regularly struggles with determining the rate they should charge the services. This problem is further exasperated with the ability to outsource services both locally and offshore at cheaper rates.

Outsourcing is not a new concept; it is just that it has now become more accessible. It is not however without its own set of problems (read our article...)

This only makes it more important that you please real value on your own services that do so based on determining the value add to your customers. Typically, a process-based service such as that performed by a say in Accounts Payable clerk, above or a Lawnmower man is easy to cost. They follow a consistent process of forming a clearly defined set of activities.

However, many professionals at all levels bring more to the table than just straight forward duties they perform. Invariably they had to carry out some additional analysis, interpretation of information, consideration of alternatives, gathering of data, etc. These are what I would consider as being your intellectual property (IP). It is this knowledge that you have delivered in the form of your skills and services that are worth money.

Too often this IP is overlooked or undervalued by many business owners. You don't have to be a solicitor, accountant, engineer, all Web developer – IP is held by many. Even people such as your beautician, landscape gardener or hairdresser possess IP. They have knowledge that has been acquired through education and experience that enables them to make better decisions on behalf of their clients or customers.

More often than not such senior professionals update their IP through research and development of their skills keeping abreast of current trends, data, technologies and best practices. These factors should all be considered in determining "your worth" to your clients.

Of course, the better skilled and educated you are a higher "worse" you can attribute to your services. You must however understand the value of that IP as related to your clients or customers own needs and their set of values. Just because you can build brilliant websites does not make you worth more to your clients as a hairdresser.

It is also important that your client understand what you are valuing and thus the basis of your feeds. They are looking for validation of your worth.

Don't necessarily confuse membership of professional associations, clubs or fancy offices with added worth, unless you know these are seen as value-add to your clients’ needs.

In order that you can justify your higher fees, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that you are not following a standard process and performing your duties will roll to your clients. The value add of your IP must be part of the service you are providing in order that you can command a higher fee for your services.

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