Over at my new site TheSelfEmployed, I naturally hear from a lot of solopreneurs. And by the same token, because my weekly USA TODAY column is called Ask an Expert, I also necessarily hear from a lot of other, bigger businesses.
Yet, no matter what size the business, everyone seems to have one thing on their mind these days (and no, it’s not the overhyped “fiscal cliff”), namely, it is this: Is it finally time to raise prices? Because the truth is, many small business people would like to do just that.
I don’t need to tell you that we have lived through a very tough economy the past few years, and if you are still standing, bully for you. I bet one way you did that was by keeping a lid – to the extent possible – on price increases. One thing people have wanted the past few years, and the thing that smart businesses gave them, was low prices.
But now is not then. Things change. And yes, thankfully, economies change. That is the case now. There is no doubt that things are getting better and it seems that people are more in the mood to start shopping and spending again. Finally.
Which then begs the question: Is it time and can you safely raise your prices next year? My educated take is yes and yes.
Look, people buy your goods or services for plenty of reasons, and your fair prices are only one of them. They may also like your location, the quality of the work you do, your friendly staff, your quick turn-around – it is likely any number of things. You have created goodwill. And because of that goodwill, you also have the ability to raise your prices without it being that big of a deal.
Example: The place where my wife and I occasionally drop off our sweet dog Rosie for the day just raised their prices by 10%. Am I going to stop going there? Of course not. My wife especially loves that place, loves the great care Rosie gets there, and so a small raise in prices seems perfectly reasonable, and anyway, if I barked about the raise, I am the one who would be in the doghouse (groan, sorry!)
Anyway, the point is, customers expect periodic raises in prices. It should not be a problem, especially now. (But if you are worried about a backlash, you can always test it out on a few folks, gauge the reaction, and choose accordingly.)
But if all goes well, and it should, you should expect a nice raise in 2013.
About Steve Strauss: Senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible, Steve is your host at TheSelfEmployed.com
This article is from the SmallBizLady special blog series: 31 Ways to Boost Your Small Business in 2013. #Boost2013
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