What’s the fastest way to go out of business? I’d venture to say that it’s having a product or service at the wrong price. (that or having no revenue model) Nowhere is this highlighted more obviously than in fantasy markets such as the one in World of Warcraft. There are literally thousands of products you can sell on the open market, and yet an astonishing number of people who play the game are not in-game wealthy. Why? They’re not selling stuff that others want to buy, or at the price they’re willing to buy. There are an astonishing number of auctions in the game Auction House that are mispriced well beyond what others are willing to pay.
The lesson is simple: your product or service is only worth what someone else is willing to pay.
Sometimes, that can be mispriced in your favor – people will pay a lot of money for something that to you is of comparatively little value. Where businesses get into trouble is when it’s going the other way, when you’re demanding to be paid more than what the market is willing to bear.
Take a look at the real estate markets right now. Is real estate moving? Sure is – at the right price, which is currently foreclosure or short sale pricing, pricing far below “market value”. The reality is that the market value is whatever a house will sell for today, not what the seller wants it to be for a profit, not what the agent wants it to be for their commission.
If you’re not earning the profits you want to be as a business, either you have something no one wants or more likely you have something that someone wants but at the wrong price. You can either lower prices or sell something else with a higher profit. The laws of economics are immutable and no amount of wishing or wanting the price of what you have to be higher will make it so.
How do you know what the market is willing to bear? You’ve got to research, gather data, shop competitors, and test pricing repeatedly until you discover the true price of the product or service you have, and then continue to monitor and research changes in the economy and adapt to them. Do this well, and you’ll not only discover the pricing of your offerings, but you’ll eventually gain a sense of when something is trending, when you’re about to see a wave of potential profit roll in. As long as you’ve been paddling and are in the water at the right time with the right board and the right skill, you’ll catch the wave.
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