Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A different business model!

Yesterday I phoned a local music shop to ask for advice. Someone had made my son an offer on his bass guitar, and I wanted to know if it was a fair price. I explained this to the man who answered the phone. His response was to point out that, "Of course, we would have to charge you for this information."

"Why 'of course'?" I asked.

He was astonished. He explained that he was trying to run a business and he wouldn't be very successful at it if he gave advice free of charge. He assured me that, should I ever meet a freelance consultant and ask them a question, they would charge me for the answer. I responded by thanking him for his time and pointed out that I am just such a freelance consultant and I regularly give advice free of charge. He told me I couldn't expect to survive very long with a business model like that.

My own view is that, if I know of someone who has demonstrated to me (without charge) that they have expertise in a certain area, that I am more likely to go to that person when I want to buy related goods or services.

I give away ideas and advice in several places: discussion forums, community Q&A boards, this blog, Twitter. My hope is that, when someone who has benefitted from one my suggestions is in the market for something that I can offer, they will consider approaching me.

Perhaps I'm being naive. But I prefer the world I live in to the one occupied by the man at the music shop.

Oh, and we accepted the offer on the bass. My son is delighted with the cash injection. The buyer is delighted with his (beautiful) new bass guitar. Everybody wins.


Cammy Bean said...

Everybody wins except for the guy at the music shop with the outdated business model, that is.

The upsycho said...

Well that's kind of what I reckon. I certainly won't go there when next I need to make a purchase. I will either get it online, or drive half an hour to a shop where I bought the bass guitar in the first place - that guy is totally committed to making sure that his customers get matched up with exactly what they need - even if he has to send them somewhere else to get it!