Waiting for the perfect time while burning away your money

I’m reminded again and again how people don’t think about opportunity costs.

I was talking with a friend last week about a house that was for sale down the street.

It’s vacant and the owners have been trying to sell it for years now.

Every spring they’d list it at the same price, have their agent run open houses, and then would gradually walk the price down until autumn. Then they’d de-list the house and try again next year by resetting the price back to their dream price.

By trying to maximize the selling price like this, they were losing money each month on the mortgage, taxes, and other expenses. Plus all the time wasted.

Instead if they just kept it on the market and continued to lower the price, eventually it would have sold (it’s a nice house, just over-priced).

By trying to squeeze out an extra $20k, they spent an equal amount over the years and lost out on years of use for their proceeds.

A lot of marketing activities have opportunity costs.

Some are financial, a dollar spend on ads is a dollar not spent on a long-term SEO asset.

Some are time, an hour trying to get social media to convert is an hour not spent adding a welcome email campaign that every customer will see.

It makes me sad to hear about Shopify stores planning and wanting to invest in long-term assets like their Rich Results or customer segmenting but then getting sucked into short term, throwaway projects.

Some things have to be done in the short-term.

But you should make room for the higher-value and important things too or you’ll never get out of the reactionary cycle.

Eric Davis

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