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It Might Be Time For A PITA Fee

It Might Be Time For A PITA Fee

Years ago, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce held a monthly CEO roundtable discussion, and this time, I found myself the one to bring the question. 

The whole point of CEO roundtables like this one is to connect with other local business leaders to discuss issues that impact businesses in the community. They can be incredibly productive, kind of like a thinktank for CEOs and business leaders, especially for creatively solving issues leaders are facing. 

And I had no idea how creative this discussion was about to get.

A What-A Fee?

I came that day with a problem. I was having issues with one of my business’s major clients. They were presenting some really challenging things, and they were getting harder and harder to work with. Late on payments, asking for special treatment—the whole nine yards. 

Then one of the CEOs at the roundtable said something I didn’t understand at first. He said: 

“Sounds like it’s time for a PITA fee.” 

Huh? At first, I thought it was PETA, like the animal rights activism group, and I wondered how that had anything to do with it. But then—and thankfully, before I asked an awkward question about animals—the CEO clarified: 

“You know, a Pain In The Arse fee,” he smirked. 

Everyone laughed, and it really needed no further explanation. I understood. 

One more question hung in the air: You can do that? 



Yes, You Can

The CEO in that roundtable went on to explain what exactly a PITA fee was, and that yes, I could do that. And it became more and more clear to me that the PITA fee could help solve my problem. So over the next two years, I raised the price three times, and the client stuck with us until they were acquired by a larger organization. The additional fee made the extra work worth it, and they were happy with the service and prices. 

The advice from this seasoned CEO gave me confidence to raise the price to accommodate for the extra work I was putting in. 

In roundtables like this one, CEOs and business leaders bring all their experience and wisdom to the table to help solve problems. Sometimes, as a business leader, I could get so deep in the weeds of my business or in trying to find the solution that I couldn’t think about it in any other way or see any new solutions. I needed those leaders to give me their perspectives on the issue, simply sharing how they saw my problem from a different angle. The experience, advice, and perspective from the CEOs and other business leaders at that roundtable bolstered my confidence and helped me solve my problem. 

The wisdom from their journeys could speak to whatever I was dealing with at the time, and occasionally, it was vice versa; my experience also helped solve their problems. That’s the strength of a roundtable, thinktank, mastermind group, or peer advisory board. Being with people who can help you think and problem-solve is one of the most valuable leadership practices you can adopt.

Pleasantly Surprised

When I walked out of that CEO roundtable that day, I realized it was one of the best investments of time I could have made. I connected with the CEO of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama as well as the Founder of Huntsville Hub, and the friendships that came out of it revolutionized how I did business—and not just because I learned about the PITA fee. I began building trust and camaraderie with local business leaders and even got a few more contracts from the group for my own business. (None of which I ever charged PITA fees, for the record.) 

If this story resonates with you, or if you are looking for a group of people from whom you can borrow wisdom, Axios Solutions’ Christian Leadership MashUp™ is a peer advisory group that can give you that kind of problem-solving capital. That’s what I found in that CEO roundtable I went to that day. If this sounds like what you’ve been looking for, get more info about it here:

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