Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spending Good Money After Bad

In this industry, as many others, you come across jobs from time to time that are handed to you to repair or redo. It happens more often than you would imagine. A company seeks out a vendor to perform a service—in our case, creating a slide presentation—and the results fall fatally short of their goals or needs. They usually have spent a lot of money on this service—sometimes overpaid for the results, and it puts them in a bad position. They are then forced to make a very difficult decision. Do they leave it as-is and deal with the poor results or do they spend money again and have it re-done to a higher level?

When my wife and I bought our current house, we decided to have the entire house painted before we ever moved in. We figured it would be a one-shot job with no furniture in the house. What could go wrong?

The results were nauseatingly bad from a "professional" painting company, and to this day I still kick myself for making such a bad choice in picking the painters to hue our freshly-built home. The paint stains on the carpeting, railings, ceiling, doors and fixtures are constant reminders of dollars poorly spent.

Over the last few years, we have systematically re-finished most of the house properly, but it has been a long, slow, painful and costly process.

So as a company when a mistake is made with a high-profile project and the results are less than respectable, how should it be handled? Yes, costly mistakes can often be hard to recover from for any company. Diligent work from the beginning on who you are working with is always the best way to keep this from happening in the first place, but is it necessary to fix the mistake? In a word, yes.

Just because you spent $25k on a presentation or brochure, and it turned out poorly or actually makes your company look bad, that doesn't mean that you have to keep it. The reality is that something like that can do more damage to your brand and business than paying for the same thing twice, just to get it done the right way.

In a perfect world, you would never have to do anything a second time to get it done right, but none of us are perfect. Sometimes a bullet needs to be bit to get the proper results for your company.

And if you ever need your home painted, I can tell you who NOT to use.

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