Cost Vs. Investment

In my canned stump speech that I used early on when I started my business (and still use today, by the way), I tell the story of how I became very familiar with trailer-park living, thanks to having a relative who was living in one. While my visits were as infrequent as I could get away with, I was there enough to learn a VERY significant fact about why so many people are broke and will stay broke in America, and why people who are wealthy get there and stay there.

Simply, people who are wealthy or who are on the right path to wealth and financial freedom do ONE THING that all the others don’t do, won’t do: they INVEST their time, attention and money in things that go UP in value, instead of things that go down in value. Can it be that simple? Yes, provided you truly understand the difference between “cost” (spending) and “investment” and discipline yourself to INVEST your time, money and efforts instead of spending them on wasteful activities and low-money work.

As I share in my presentation, I would routinely see, parked in front of dilapidated trailer homes, brand-new trucks and cars that had custom paint jobs and expensive after-market stereo systems and wheels, and I’d think to myself how I would have put that money to better use in any number of ways rather than spending it on a car that goes DOWN in value like a rock. Logically, everyone understands that concept and will argue they understand the value of their time and say they are making GOOD investments; however, their actions paint a much different picture. They’re constantly frittering away their time on low-money clients, low-money work and outright distractions, choosing “cheap” over “value.”

Example: A client comes to us needing a CRM/Marketing Automation Platform to better organize, follow up and close sales – and, used as prescribed, it will do just that. Therefore, the time and effort put in is an investment in future sales and profits. Further, hiring us to implement it will easily save him over 100 hours of work in learning how to do it himself, configuring it, setting it up, creating the campaigns, not to mention the savings of frustration and mental energy in troubleshooting the system – and time management is actually energy management when you get right down to it. Spend all your energy on low-money, low-level tasks and you won’t have it for solving your more complex problems and removing bottlenecks to growth…but that’s a topic for another day.

But instead of seeing this as an “investment,” he only sees the “cost” of the software and “cost” of the service and decides to find a cheaper alternative and do it on his own, cobbling together two or three free and/or cheap tools to do half of what our Marketing Automation Platform will do. All in, let’s say he saves himself $5,000 in out-of-pocket COST doing it this way, but he INVESTS 100 hours of his own time to research other platforms, set them up, integrate them and do the work of creating the workflow of the campaigns, importing and segmenting the list, customizing preferences, etc. Question: Has he made a good INVESTMENT?

To answer that question, I’d ask the following question back: Could you have INVESTED that time and energy into something else in your business that would bring you more than $5,000? If yes, he’s a fool to choose doing lower-money work. And the fact that he’s someone who SHOULD understand the value of using technology for greater productivity (given that it’s a core part of what YOUR pitch should be as an IT company) goes to show that this is an emotional vs. a logical decision, and he absolutely does not know the difference between “cost” and “investment.”

As Oscar Wilde famously said, “A fool knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” As a business owner, you must learn to think, make decisions and act as an INVESTOR if you truly want to get ahead, understanding the value of time. Especially your own.

Do you want more leads, more clients, more profits now but don’t know where to start? Click here and watch a quick video about the three biggest problems IT Service Businesses face and how to solve them.