Lately I've been thinking about value. The value of the things we use to get through this life comfortably. Our personal value to our family and friends and even our employers. You have to put a value on yourself and then you need to live up to that standard.

A friend of mine on Facebook threw up a post about people always taking and wanting things for free or at a discounted rate. The post went on to say there are far too many takers in this town and that makes it difficult to do business in Yakima. Anyone in business can tell you they get bombarded with people that want a deal or discount or donation.

I think getting a deal is part of a culture that business created, and getting that 'deal' rings more true when the economy is still recovering from a recession. Money is tight, the cost of living and doing business have gone up while the value of the dollar has remained relatively flat.

Step one is to put a realistic value on yourself or your product. I'm sure a little market research will reveal what that value will be. Where we make the mistake is to give away your product at a loss or you continue to work below what your value is to your employer.

Businesses need to make a profit to stay in business and keep people employed and so on. How much of a profit they make will depend on the value of what they sell and the market demand. Take the Apple iPhone -- heck take anything electronic these days. Tech companies are making big money, ridiculous amounts of money. But they’re doing what successful companies have to do: selling products that people want.

A good quality product and excellent service will keep customers coming back over and over. Businesses just need to make sure they stand their ground on price and value. They might end up losing a little business in the short term, but IF they’re truly selling something worth having they won’t have to worry.

The hard reality is facing those actual market values.