Negotiate Time, Not Quality

I was very naive at negotiating when I first started Ideaware.

Starting a new agency to compete with Silicon Valley counterparts was not an easy task, hell, it still isn’t. Starting up in South America (Colombia), there was only one way to compete and step into the market: cheaper hourly rates.

In other words: cost. We tried - and succeeded sometimes - to deliver that ‘top agency’ quality at a fraction of the price. But this came at a cost, as great things take time to make.

Time I wasn’t charging for - or undercharging for. This took a toll on both revenue and in the end quality, as having enough cash is vital to having the necessary resources to deliver the work.

One day it all dawned on me after reading a blog post somewhere (would love to cite, but couldn’t find it): budgets buy time - quality should always be a given. It rocked my (and Ideaware’s) world.

Budgets were suddenly time. I started talking time with my clients and team. Daily project management questions suddenly changed to: How much time do we have? Does the client have enough budget for that?

What happened next rocked my world (again): we started delivering the best quality work we’ve ever done and clients have never been happier working with us. We no longer negotiate quality, but time. Time and quality equals results.

Results are good for business.


Andrés Max