Ever heard the saying “there is nothing more expensive than a cheap lawyer”? That lesson can easily be applied to the decisions we make every day regarding our business vendors.
It is easy to make the mistake of spreading our budget too thin or going with the cheapest option – mistakenly thinking we are getting more bang for buck or that we are saving money. Often you will find this approach will result in poorer quality and not achieving the goal you set out to do in the first place. The cost either in additional time or further investment to bring what you are doing back to scratch can often be far greater than if you had aligned your budget to your goals in the first place (or your goals to your budget).
Although this rule applies as much to the personal decisions we make, it is less likely we fall into that trap because we tend to naturally protect “our hard earned money”. We will spend far more time in determining return on investment whether it is through measuring easy to compare metrics, searching online or by talking to family and friends to better understand their experiences and opinions. We seek recommendations feeling confident of asking someone we know “how did you find your builder, car, computer, TV, phone etc? “. We do this whether it is a conscious best practice or not.
It has always struck me the difference that people feel about spending their own money vs. their employers’ money. The sense of responsibility and ownership for return on investment regarding business purchases often differs from the way the same decision would be approached if it was their own money. At a time where organizations are looking at innovation as a means to survive the global economic environment, we should also be revising our planning and procurement approach. And this is more about the culture you create rather than defining it through process.
Encouraging your team to spend time on determining the best plan to achieve your goals against budget, investing in research and assessment of the right vendor, obtaining testimonials directly from similar type businesses who have engaged or purchased from that vendor, investing in developing a good brief or requirement specifications; all will help you determine the best partner for you and your company – and I do emphasize that you see the relationship as a partner not just vendor/supplier. This should result in you choosing the best partner that truly shares your vision and belief in your desired objectives, and is motivated to bring you success beyond “making the sale”.
If you are delivering on someone else’s brief, and you find the scope and budget are out of alignment, you may need to either negotiate more budget or learn to reset expectations when determining how best to achieve the goal within the budget you have.
Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of going with the cheapest option, spread your budget too thin, and have the outcome you are working to achieve at risk. Even with the financial pressures as they are today, you can’t afford the ‘real’ expense of going with the cheapest lawyer or any other vendor unless you really have weighed up the true cost and return of that engagement.
The same goes in reverse. If you are offering a product or service, make sure you invest in understanding the brief and proving how you are best able to help your client achieve their brief. Be realistic about pricing and quote what you believe is fair and reasonable for the scope of brief or requirement given. Everyone needs to win for success to be fully realized.
You need to buy well to return well. And this may mean you need to review your purchasing culture right now.
One Reply to “Can you afford the expense of a cheap lawyer ?”
I like the business message you are giving in your blog (this and others). The principles are sound and your perspective gives people plenty to think about. It would be good if more people listened , contemplated and acted on them.
Keep up the good work. The more issues you cover the more likely the message will get through. I don’t believe there is anything quite like this out there at least that I have found.
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