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business focus

I was recently in a conversation about a local company who has a very narrow specialty.  They do really nice work, but I'm afraid that their business model is bad ... for anyone.  Though they do their work really well, in order to get it they do everyone else's work really poorly.  I made the statement, "In order to get your business, they're willing to walk you dog."  Walking your client's proverbial dog is a bad idea for you, your client and everyone else too.

It's bad for your company.

If you are spending time and effort on something that isn't really making you money you will have to cheat somewhere.

  1. You might to cheat yourself by spending extra time on the secondary project without getting paid.
  2. In order to not sacrifice your schedule you might cheat the primary project that is making money by reallocating its time.
  3. The only other option is to cheat your client by actually charging more than the original project should be worth.

Any way you slice it, walking the dog is bad for business.

It's bad for your client.

It may seem like you are really helping your client out by walking their dog, but they may very well have a pit bull or a broken leash or any number of problems out there that a trained dog walker could handle that you simply cannot.  What seems like a simple task often becomes a monstrosity overnight.  Odds are you will leave your client in a lurch or stick them with an ominous bill.  Even if nothing goes wrong, your client is still being provided a substandard product or service.

Any way you slice it, walking the dog is catastrophe for the customer.

It's bad for the community.

We are all in this economy together whether its local or global.  Odds are that there are other companies out there that need their dogs walked.  Especially in areas where dog walking has never gained much traction, the need is often great and unnoticed.  So, when you provide this service at a novice level because it will "get them by" you lower the bar for their competitors in the area.  You do that one too many times, and your community will be overrun with stray dogs.

Any way you slice it, walking the dog is a nuisance to the neighborhood.

It's bad for your colleagues.

To put it simply, when you give away a product or service in order to entice clients you devalue that product or service.  Walking someone's dog for free may very well meet a small, immediate need of an individual, but in the long run it hurts the dog walking industry that is needed by everyone else.  In addition to that, it literally takes away potential clients who "get by" with you.  No professional worth his weight in salt is afraid of a little competition, but losing a job because a "non-competitor" under bid you is infuriating.  You won't make any synergistic friends doing that.

Any way you slice it, walking the dog is hurtful to those who can help you.

Don't walk the dog.