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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

The Cost of Being Cheap in Business

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

Entrepreneurship is often about being scrappy and making more out of less.  While the ability to bootstrap can be very handy for a business owner, having the frugality gene (aka being el cheapo) can be very detrimental to your business.

You get what you pay for. Amidst the benefits of cost savings tactics like hiring cheap staff or service providers, you often really get what you pay for. The skills of an intern may not produce the desired results.  Hiring an inexpensive attorney may costs you dearly in the form of contracts that come back to haunt you, unnecessary litigation and more fees down the road.  Cheap materials in your retail store may need to be replaced or even cause a business closure.  It can be greatly to your benefit to pay to get the job done well (not to mention getting it done “the first time”).

The hidden cost of cheap. Pricing of service providers can reflect experience, which means that you may be paying less by the hour, but you may be paying more in that it takes the inexperienced provider longer to finish a task or that the task is only partially done and needs to be redone.  Being cheap may mean more of your time involved supervising or dealing with an issue, which takes time away from higher value tasks that you have in your business.

Moreover, high value service providers may also bring extras to the table, such as connections or customers that you can leverage.  Being cheap can cost you in a variety of ways.

Cheap doesn’t fuel growth. Not making an investment in your business is like not providing a growing plant water and sunshine. There are only so many ways for a company to grow, and being willing to invest in resources, working capital, marketing and/or people is going to be required to get to the next level.  There is only so much growth any company can attain without having to invest.  Plus, a lack of innovation in virtually any industry can leave you trailing behind the competition.  If you approach investment as a cheapskate, don’t be surprised if you are in exactly the same place- or even left behind- several years from now.

So, the next time you are evaluating an investment, think about whether you are being penny-wise and pound foolish in your business.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth