"We weren’t getting paid enough," Paul Young on knowing your worth in business
"We’re always the highest bidder, and we might lose lots of jobs, but the value of the ones we get are worth it."
For many businesses, simply getting a client or customer to sign on the dotted line remains the focus from beginning to end. While of course that is the end product we all strive for, setting the price tag too low can sometimes be a lot more damaging than setting it high.
Perhaps it is in many ways an "Irish" way of thinking, but people often undervalue their own worth when starting out in business. Speaking to host Sonya Lennon on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, Founder of Academy Award®-nominated Cartoon Saloon Paul Young said he's learned how to properly measure his business's worth.
"I think we undervalued ourselves for a long time. Now, maybe that’s part of the market... I mean, the media goes in bubbles a little bit too. At the moment it’s amazing, there’s so much content being produced," the 2015 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Finalist with Cartoon Saloon said.
In reality, it's a case of finding a balance. You can't go too far above the market price, but putting yourself at the lower end of the scale regardless of your company's talent and ability can be a risky game to play.
"There wasn’t a great deal of people doing stuff but there were successful companies around Europe that were earning money and doing well. But I think in general, I think we didn’t value ourselves, also we were a creatively-led company and we only really cared about as long as we got paid we were fine - but we were treading water a lot," he said.
Knowing your worth is half the battle
Having the confidence to push for a price tag that you feel reflects your ability to deliver can be a positive step towards earning the title of "best in business." This is true no matter what sector you work in, and it was Paul's brother that helped him reach this conclusion.
"I was talking to my brother and he says; 'In my business, we’re always the highest bidder. Like, we’re always way above the last person. And that’s because we think we’re very good at what we’re doing.' Right? And they were!
"He was a leisure management consultancy company, you know, in England. We’re always the highest bidder, and we might lose lots of jobs but the value of the ones we get are worth it," he said.
Once you have enough confidence in your company's ability to deliver the best results, it's only right that your prices reflect that. A high price tag often brings with it a higher level of expectation, but that only makes it all the sweeter when the job is complete.
"Yeah, so we get the good ones. And also the clients are better because they’re not micromanaging you, because “Jeez, if we’re giving you all this money to do something, we’re not going to spend more money or our own time micromanaging.'
"So we had a bit of a change. I said; 'Look when we’re doing a budget next, just add some more onto it that values what we’re doing. And also, look if you give us this money you won’t have to worry so much about creative retakes, we’ll be able to do them up to a certain level and you’re going to have something great, but we don’t get out of bed unless we’re getting this,'" he said.
Over 20 years of experience and multiple awards later (including Golden Globe®, Academy Award®, and Emmy nominations), we doubt he'll be undervaluing his business any longer!