With the current emphasis on saving money in businesses, schools & the public sector, it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that less cost per head represents better value for money.
Of course, if we can buy the same items for less, then that is probably better value for money. But what about items that need follow-up & maintenance: are we really getting best value by paying less?
How do we understand value for money when considering services?
It’s more than just numbers & cost
For today I’m going to focus on services, such as training, rather than items or commodities.
I think there are 2 key initial steps we need to take:
- Define what good value or best value for money really mean or represent for us
- Step back & ask why we’re spending the money in the first place, that is, see the training as investing in people(& our company’s future), not just costing us money.
It isn’t a simple numbers game.
If we are aiming to improve skills, knowledge, personal attributes then value for money surely depends upon other factors, such as, quality of training & trainer, style required for our people, breadth & depth of subject, flexibility of the trainer to adapt on the day, etc.
Perhaps the most important consideration is the end result or outcome of the training: is it what we require?
Sometimes we may have to pay a bit more to achieve the required outcome BUT sometimes we may be able to pay less for our desired outcome: we have to understand the desired outcome & work towards that.
We may have to invest some time & even behind the scenes investigation to determine this & find out who can best meet our needs, but
- if we book bells & whistles training event when we don’t need it, or
- if we undergo training that does not achieve our desired outcome(s) & which therefore, may require additional training at extra expense
… then I believe we are not getting best value for money.
Many customers for my own business, which enables people to overcome fears & grow in confidence, look at our activities & simply use the equation
number of people attending ÷ cost of the event
to give an assessment of value for money, especially if comparing us with other organisations, yet they rarely ask what we can do or how we work etc. So their comparison is relatively meaningless, except from a budgetary standpoint. There is no real quality assessment in there.
Other customers, once they have booked us will try to push up the numbers of attendees, despite our guidelines for the maximum number of people per group. They don’t seem to realise that the guidelines represent the best size of group to achieve greatest individual benefit from what we do & how we work. If we were to go ahead with larger numbers we would compromise on all fronts: what we can achieve & how the attendees benefit.
I have recently been challenging myself to be more aware of what this best value for money means for me personally & for my business, so that I can make my path a bit straighter, with fewer blind bends & tight spots that create opportunity for unseen problems to arise (or for me to be metaphorically robbed … of time, energy, money etc) along the way.
I’m learning that many problems which appear to be simple are actually more complex, or require deeper investigation, than I first thought. I hope I’m also learning to be more flexible in my assessments of value which will not only allow me to give better value for money as I deal with others but also receive better value for money when I invest my time, effort & money in my own activities & development.
I hope this has, if nothing else, helped to stimulate some questions in your own mind.
As always, I’m very happy to hear your comments.
Take care until next time …