I get what you're saying, Frederick, and I'm making plenty of changes to my business for that exact purpose...to grow. But I admit that my goal is not to become a "big" company. At least not under my current business model anyway. Anything I'm doing 10 or 20 years from now could be quite different.
The trends in our business are not good for small business owners, so I have no interest in their models as a matter of conscience. One successful model is to promise the earth, moon, and sky for anywhere from $5 to $150 or so per month. Some of the models that exceed $100 actually work for some businesses, but there are still holes in each one I'm familiar with. Just like you coach each business person individually, a good service provider in the fields we are discussing here must do that too. Any kind of canned solution always has drawbacks.
The canned solutions are easier, they are more profitable, and they are quite frankly more successful for the provider. They can be duplicated over and over with little further thought after they are produced in mass. It is easy for someone to grow big using that model.
I mentioned conscience, so I'll use a well known cheap logo service as an example (no need to name them). They sell logos for about $300 last I knew. Their model requires they find a lot of starving artists willing to work for nothing with no guarantees of anything. Even if they win the prize, I wonder what amount of the $300 they get. They offer unlimited edits until the client is happy. Knowing what I know, that is a very raw deal for the artist. Certainly an insult to the artist which I call exploitation. OK, the artist doesn't have to go for this deal, that's true. But when they get enough miserable souls to agree to work that way, they can process thousands of these jobs every day and collect their override. That's certainly a great business model for making money, but I call that exploiting people, and most of them are no doubt located in developing countries, desperate for anything they can get. It's just a different kind of slave labor in my book.
And I make no apologies whatsoever for calling this exploitation.
As for the value the clients are getting, it's virtually non-existent. I know most are totally happy, but only because they got what appeared to be a great deal. Their satisfaction stems from the fact that they don't understand the purpose, role, and importance of a logo. Most of them probably never will. So while this big logo company could be congratulated for meeting a market demand and making an insane amount of money doing it, I wouldn't want that on my conscience. Call that taking the moral high road if you wish, I can live with that.
There is a big need in the market for small business owners to be provided with customer focused design. Like Dan's example where he has no problem finding these people, I can say the same thing (and I'm sure vangogh will agree too). But we have to weed out the people with the $300 logo mentality. They are not our clients, and most of them never will be. When you figure that 80% (80 percent) of companies fail within 5 years, you will realize that our clients need to have the kind of thinking that puts them in the 20% (20 percent). Our requirement in most cases for money up front is a very effective indicator. It's hard to explain to people outside of our trade, but just take note of how we all agree on this one. It's not because we want to stay small, but I admit it's harder for our model to grow truly big and be manageable.
Frederick, there's no need to apologize. I'm not offended, I doubt anyone else is, and your input is certainly welcome.