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and customers were told this in purchasing the package. This was a brilliant mechanism for ensuring that the company could profitably deliver a quality product at a flat fee, without charging by the hour. Indeed, this original pricing innovation is probably one of the central reasons for the firm’s initial success. Businesses are always concerned about the cost of open-ended commitments, and the firm found a profitable way to provide a quality service at a fixed price. After several years of experience, the company modified this policy to allow additional minor revisions, but the critical elements that allowed the company to get going are what are particularly noteworthy here.

Here’s why the overall approach of 1-800-MYLOGO is so compelling: While we tend to think of graphic arts as a local service business, the company has taken a piece of the graphic arts business, developed a specialty, and systematized it. Moreover, 1-800-MYLOGO has addressed the four central problems that every service business must deal with: (1) the unpaid time and effort involved in selling the service, (2) balancing custom expertise with the time involved, (3) getting and keeping happy customers while limiting the number of customers who will never be satisfied (and will chew up valuable time and resources with endless demands), and (4) the customer’s desire to pay a flat fee (as opposed to an hourly rate) for a product that can be difficult for the company to assess ahead of time.

How does the company do it? First, the company focuses on what it does best: create logos. Customers are recruited through a terrific Web site, advertising, well-orchestrated publicity, repeat business, and word of mouth. Second, the Web site acts as the salesperson. The company avoids the high costs associated with salespeople. Third, the initial “three revisions and you’re done” limitation was a superb way of managing customer expectations and engaging the customer. By clearly articulating this policy upfront, 1-800-MYLOGO logo forced customers to take every revision seriously.

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.