We sat down with Emily Soccorsy, co-founder and CEO, and Justin Foster, co-founder and CRO, of branding agency and Industrious Old Town member Root and River for a little business advice.
What was the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Know your value. And charge it.
Who gave you that advice?
More than one client in the early days, and then unanimously from a mastermind group of fellow business owners.
What does that advice mean to you?
Essentially, it is a reminder to continually rethink what we consider to be the limits of the market. Often, so-called market limits are blamed for what are our own limiting beliefs.
When we began our business, we were very much in a bootstrap frame of mind. We were focused on proving our ideas, taking amazing care of each client and funding our own growth. Since we were also creating a new model in a crowded space, we were conservative with our early pricing.
But very quickly, our clients began telling us we needed to charge more because our work brought tremendously more value than we realized. We upped our rates a bit, but also upped our services. This was unnecessary and wore us down!
Once we fully embraced this advice, and our value, and began to charge for the long-term benefits of working with us, and right-sized our offerings so we were happier and healthier as we served our clients. It was then our business began to thrive even more and we could imagine the big things beyond our bootstrap mindset.
Can you share a time when that advice came in handy?
In late 2018, we were lucky enough to be in conversation with a significant potential client. Initially, we were framing it as a shorter-term engagement at a lower number. We were thinking in terms of landing a “deal” and expeditiously crushing the work. But then we paused and regrouped around the value we knew we brought. We looked at long-term value and adopted a more sustained mindset. We ended up offering a multi-year agreement at a markedly higher rate. We landed it! The final agreement was also more a realistic time frame (for both us and the client) for accomplishing what the client wanted. And the project has been successful and enjoyable!
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give someone in your industry?
We would tell them the same thing: Know your value! To do so, listen to your heart and mind first. Then, listen to what your happiest clients tell you your value is. That value might come from a place different from what you assume. Consider whether you are bringing long-term or short-term value. Be brave, bold, and humbly confident when you ask for your value.