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The idea of value added was thrust into our consciousness about fifteen years ago and was touted as something mysterious, complicated and expensive. It's actually very simple and not new - the Italian traders of the late 1400s were practising it and it's worked for business people ever since. What is added value? You sell products and/or services - that's the core of your business. Then you make it easier to sell those things or to be able to charge more for them - you add value. So, you sell carpets. That's your core. You add value by providing a fitting service. Your added value may or may not be free. You are an architect and you sell your architectural services - that's your core. You then add value by also providing a project management service. You are a supermarket and you sell groceries - that's your core. You then add value by providing a door-to-door delivery service. That's all it is. So simple. You've probably been doing it already! How do you decide what value you add? You start by finding out what are the biggest objections customers have to buying your products and/or services. People resist going to accountants because they don't know what it will cost till, say, six months later. So, nowadays, many accountants will give you a fixed quote before they start the work. Some will give you a fixed completion date and, at the first appointment, will actually make an appointment with you for finalising the accounts. Their added value is to take away uncertainty. Why would you be uncertain about hiring a tradesman? What is the most consistently annoying thing about hiring trades people? They are unreliable. They do not turn up on time. They do not turn up at all. They do not finish on time. If a tradesperson took away all of that uncertainty, would you employ him or her? Of course you would! Even if they charged 20% more than the others? Of course you would! There is a plumber in Tauranga, New Zealand, who will come and look at your job. On the spot, he will give you:

A fixed quote for the job, A day and a time that he will start work, and A completion day and time. I used him and, an hour before he was due to start, he rang to apologise that he would be ten minutes late because of some unforeseen problem. He actually turned up seven minutes late, did a perfect job, cleaned up all his mess and took all his rubbish away. His invoice was in our mailbox that evening... along with two beautifully wrapped chocolates. He got paid the next day! Oh, yes, he charges 25% more than other plumbers and he is so busy he has to turn work away. He knows the weak spot in his industry and he uses it to:

Make a great business for himself, and Have very happy customers who come back to him, time after time. Creating a win-win The idea of added value is that everyone wins. Customers are happy and, because of that, the business flourishes. Some added value ideas See the blog, Raising Sales Without Having A Sale for how:

An Adelaide wedding photographer adds value by providing an outrageous guarantee, A Sydney women's clothing store adds value by allowing toys to be taken home, and A Melbourne book store adds value by providing a reading room and coffee. More ideas...

Several training organisations provide a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. You do their course and, at the end, you can ask for all your money back if you're not happy. Taxis have a bad reputation for grumpy or uncommunicative drivers, especially in London. Maybe a taxi company could guarantee that, at the end of your trip you will be either happier or better informed about something. Some paint shops now provide computer simulated visuals of how your house will look when it's painted different colours. Some real estate agents provide photos of houses for sale on their website, inside and outside the houses. Some even provide a webcam service on their website, so that you can "walk" through houses from the comfort of your computer. Some lawyers now provide a free Will Writing service with every conveyancing job. Cafes could provide pamphlets about the origin and processing of their coffee to add to the richness of the coffee experience. It would also give the impression of passion and expertise about coffee.

You can add value to our website, for everyone's benefit, by adding your value added ideas in the comments section Don't forget to include the name of your business - we want you to benefit as well! I am a writer with business qualifications and experience... I am a qualified accountant (BBS ACA) and have been a company director and business owner, university lecturer, business coach and corporate trainer. Then I was a newspaper reporter. Then I was editor and then publisher (owner) of a national, monthly magazine for several years. I have 9 published books - 6 paper ones and 3 ebooks on SmashWords website. And now I am a freelance writer, writing for clients in Australia, Czech Republic, Norway, Germany, Romania, Arabia, Britain and America... ... and I'm always looking for more work. See articles at The Write Site website

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How to create a carpet cleaning business in Adelaide  

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