Please, make a profit!

By Ken Gasque


Have you heard the news media reporting that Warren Buffett wants to pay more taxes? “Please, raise my taxes.” Legendary investor Warren Buffett said on Monday that rich Americans, including himself, are not paying enough in taxes. “The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population,” the Berkshire Hathaway Chairman told CNBC in an interview.

From Money Magazine, “Indeed, Buffett has supported the idea for a while. In 2011, he wrote an op-ed in The New York Times entitled ‘Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,’ where he called for higher rates on taxable income above $1 million, with an additional increase for those who make more than $10 million. To prove his point, Buffett has also pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.”

Today I called a trusted and valued vendor to schedule his service only to find out that he was closing his business.

Why? “Well I can’t pay my employees enough; my competitors hire them away as soon as I get them trained.

My insurance is going up. My supplies are going up. And I just can’t make a living.”

Burke: Radio Shack store entrance facade with closing sale sign

The Problem

My friend is not paying himself enough. And who loses? Me and other customers who value his services. Why does Warren Buffett want to pay more taxes… because he loves this country and he wants to see it continue.

My friend was afraid he would run me off if he increased his price. He didn’t have a brand in his mind, he had a commodity. A commodity is about who can sell their product or service for the lowest amount of money. Ask yourself, ‘Am I contributing to the problem?” My friend didn’t listen to me. He never even asked me how I valued his service. I never volunteered any comments, but I loved his service. I told others how good it was.

I was at a printer’s office a few years ago and a woman came into the office and ask for a quote on some stationary. The printer got all of the information and gave her a quote in about 5 minutes. She looked at the quote and said, “I can buy them from the printer down the street for less than this.” The printer looked at her and said, “Well, go buy them.” To which she responded incredulously, “I can’t because he has gone out of business.”

There is a social networking service for neighborhoods called Next Door. For the most part, this is a good networking service because you can get recommendations for services: lawn care, tree removal, painters, plumbers and so on. (You can also complain about something or someone but that part you have to overlook). The first question is “Who do you know that does good work and is reliable?” Followed by “I need the cheapest price I can get.” Do you really believe that craftmanship and quality products can be obtained for the cheapest price? Do you?

If you use a service that gives you good, honest, and dependable assistance, by all means encourage the owner to make a profit. Tell the provider you appreciate their work and value what they do. I realize the brands I like cost more than the commodities I could be using. But I value my brands and I want them to be here when I need them.

Brands have higher overheads. They hire better people. They have better quality control. They give better guarantees.

Your brand’s value is set by the consumer.   You, the owner, sets the price.   You have to understand your brand.  You have to know what your customer’s brand experience is.  Price is very tempting.  Branding has to offer more.  The brand experience has to be special enough for your customer to feel your price is worth it.

We find that most businesses do not know the value that their customers put on their brand.  It’s because listening is so difficult.  Or we need to ask better questions.  It is one of those important but not urgent things.

Listen better, sell less and profit more.


About Ken Gasque

Ken Gasque is a brand developer, marketing planner and designer. Ken works with small companies and Fortune 500 companies who recognize the need to differentiate their products and services to stand out in a cluttered market. Ken is a highly visual, outside-the-box-thinker on advertising, branding and marketing—his work reflects his belief that “We buy with our eyes.” Ken writes and lectures on his experiences developing brands (good and bad).