Everybody continues to say Cash is King, and in some context, that is always going to be the case. For example, I will always put an intrinsic value on having cash on hand as opposed to paying off a significant debt and leaving you with no emergency fund, though that is another conversation.
However, businesses that put too much emphasis on actual dollars are destined to fail. Instead of merely focusing on hard measures such as cost and revenue, enterprises need to also give particular attention to value creation and what that can do for them. The old paradigm says that you do not give things away for free. If you want to share information, charge an hourly rate for it. Or write a book and charge for it. However, with the advent of the internet and the proliferation of information, businesses that want to continue to succeed have to shift and find ways to obtain value when they can no longer charge for certain services. Blogging advice to drive internet searches is one such example, but how can you apply this to other aspects of your business?
If you are a seller of goods, consider the value you can obtain by giving away your product at cost to a large consumer. If you are a coffee seller, for example, offer to sell your product to a local hotel at your cost. What madness is this? Giving away product for no return? There is a value in this despite no cash. If you can obtain this large contract, you should be able to get a volume discount on your product which in turn, means you will save on cost, and still turn a profit. Further, broker the hotel deal in such a way that your packaging is prevalent to the guests that consume it. Now you have also created a marketing campaign that costs you nothing. If just a handful of those guests decide to purchase your coffee, at the full list price, then you will gain market share as well as increase your margins, because the hotel's volume has given you a cost discount. Focusing on value and not cash in this example, can lead to growing your business and in turn, cash follows.
In another example, while writing this article is giving away some of my best advice for free, I am still ultimately going to come ahead. How? By sharing my best information, I am creating value for others (hopefully you!). While I will not receive cash for this post, I am still going to find value by probably building credibility with my audience, which will, in turn, lead to future consulting opportunities. Further, I am getting additional value by optimizing my SEO (search engine optimization) and hopefully driving more traffic to the website. Ultimately, this should expand my audience and lead to future opportunities. Cash has no part in this post, but I am creating value for my consumer and myself. If you have someone on your team that wants more analytical support for this activity, write off the activity as website optimization, SEO or marketing.