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charge what you deserve, to earn what you are worth
by reeta bochner wolfsohn

We women have traditionally given away our time and our work. We have always been expected to contribute our baked goods to PTA fundraising efforts, to volunteer to accompany class trips, to entertain our husband’s colleagues, or to cook for the church supper.

While more men than ever are active participants in childrearing and homemaking, and more women than ever are on boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies, those numbers remain incredibly skewed.

Women continue to have to work hard to gain respect in the workplace. For many it is a continuous struggle to charge what they deserve and to earn what they are worth. Whether a woman owned business is product, retail or consulting based, the ability to stay in business depends on the ability to charge the right price. The right price is one that covers the cost of time and materials and enough of a mark up to cover all other expenses—plus a profit. However, the right price must be one clients or customers are willing pay.

Successful pricing requires finding the balance between value and competitive edge and understanding the client or customer's wants and needs. There are also many other variables (perceived value in the marketplace, competition, the economy, etc.) that enter into the buying decision. There is no one formula that fits all, but there are several basic principles that should never be overlooked.

The more established a business is in its field, the more valuable it may be as a resource to potential clients and customers. When a business fills a specific niche it may have a specific pricing advantage. If there is extensive competition within the field, the business may need to be far more competitive in its services and or pricing. The bookstores and Internet are filled with business books and articles that provide pricing guidance.

These resources will help you to determine your pricing objectives, suggest that you conduct market research and explain the importance of having a pricing strategy (suggested going rate, full-cost pricing, gross profit, competitive pricing, etc.). They will also offer important information on alternatives to price competition, including service, location, customization, image, and follow-through.

However, the true key to pricing is knowing why you are in business. Can you answer that question in twenty-five words or less? Are you in business to develop a new product? To fill a need that you have identified? To help others to work more efficiently? To share your artistic talents? To work from home? To be able to take your children to work with you?

Spend a few minutes answering the question: Why am I in business?
When you have finished, turn over the paper with your answer on it. Now write the following seven words: I am in business to make money.

There are certainly many reasons to be in business, but none is as critical to success as making money. Clients ultimately determine whether or not a business model is successful (by their willingness to purchase its products (s) or services), but it is up to the founder (owner or artisan) to determine whether the business is viable (based upon the cost of doing business [financially, physically, emotionally, etc.] and the income generated as a result.)

A person's talent, knowledge, expertise, education, etc., doesn't benefit anyone unless the business generates the revenues required to continue to provide the product or service—plus a profit. Luck, timing, courage, perseverance and so much more are also parts of the pricing process, but in order to be successful, women in business must always charge sufficiently for the products and services they provide and be willing to pass up work that doesn't pay equitably.

Reeta Bochner Wolfsohn, CMSW is the founder of The Femonomics Institute which provides individual counseling, support groups, products and programs that help women to create long-term emotional stability and financial security.
[ 828-658-1919; reeta@femonomics.com ]

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