When I heard this phrase for the first time, I was getting my kitchen renovated:
“You can have it fast, good, or cheap — your choice.”
My experience with any of the contractors I hired has been the same:
Good and cheap.
My cabinets were installed by someone who did great work, and his price was fair. My appointment on his calendar took months to get.
Good and fast.
It was easy for him to do the job since he lived nearby. He had excellent quality as well. How about his invoices? I almost cried when I realized the total due.
Low cost + fast delivery. The combination wasn’t something I wanted to try. Would you want to avoid a leak within months if you installed a cheap, fast kitchen sink?
Every time I needed to hire someone for a home improvement project, I weighed the options of good, fast, and cheap.
Regardless of the service you provide, it holds. As a business owner, it’s up to you to decide which two you will be known for.
The job settings are the same whether you’re a contractor, an architect, a musician, a graphic designer, or a writer:
- What are your quality standards?
- What’s your speed like?
- How much do you charge?
Certainly not for a long period. Performing quality work quickly and cheaply is not sustainable.
How do you choose what combination of options will be best for your business?
Focusing on ‘good.’
Businesses should pay attention to quality if they want to succeed. That is why you can rate everything from Uber to Amazon to OpenTable. Those who spend their money on products and services want quality to be guaranteed.
Anything below a 4 or 5 rating is considered suspect these days. The majority of goods and services are available to you in various ways. Many customers will therefore choose quality. It is possible to filter out products that do not meet your minimum quality requirements on many websites.
Can bad even be an option? Yes, of course. There are times when people will pay a low price for decent work. A fast and cheap mow of my lawn, for example, would make me willing to hire someone to do an okay job.
As far as content mills go, I’ve heard of some that want writers to intentionally include typos. This is because when people search for things, they make mistakes. A typographically incorrect SEO keyword could generate hits. In other words, that’s a place where income can be gained by doing low-quality work. Whether you wish to take on that kind of work is up to you.
What it takes to be good
Besides practicing, which can improve your skills, you could also learn to improve your skills. Start with these:
If you decide to focus on ‘fast.’
I have learned that faster is almost always better after my experience with Amazon and Instacart. Companies are stepping up to ensure that their goods and services reach their customers in as short a time as possible. It is possible to order groceries online and have them delivered by my lunch break to cook dinner in time.
As a writer, I also find faster to be better. By today’s standards, my writing deadlines were luxurious when I began. My deadline for writing a 1,000-word article could be a full month.
The photo and the illustration were the responsibility of someone else.
Writing is no longer like that, at least for those who want to earn a living. There are usually 30 stories posted a month, and there have been people who have posted 60.
What it takes to be fast
Boosting your productivity and simplifying your processes is a surefire way to cut downtime and get more done in less time, no matter what your company does.
Choosing ‘cheap’ as your focus
Normally, “cheap” refers to something cheap, but I’m using it to mean something inexpensive. Therefore, you won’t compromise on quality (whether or not you offer quality work is considered good). In this case, you are setting competitive prices.
It would be best if you kept your prices low for the following reasons:
- If you’re starting a business, you want some projects to build your portfolio so that you can apply for more lucrative positions in the future.
- When your prices are too high, you won’t get the jobs you want in a business where there’s a lot of competition.
- You’re planning to expand into a new market, and you think that a low price will make things better. Typically, bands that play live in bars might try to sell weddings for a low price.
A lower price for your product or service is also an option if you want to compete on price with your competitors.
Be careful, however. Low prices set expectations for your customers as well.
To avoid being shackled by your initial offering for too long, make a special offer or discount for new customers only. If your customers continue to hire you, they know the price will go up.
Can you focus on just one rather than good, fast, or cheap?
Perhaps. Maybe you can stick to one area if you have your niche. Your customers probably have no other choice but to choose you.
My grandfather’s clock could only be repaired at one shop near me when I needed it. Their work was excellent. It took months for them to fix the clock, and the cost was not cheap.
There were no other options for me. It was up to me if I wanted the clock fixed or to live with a non-running clock. (It would be accurate twice a day, wouldn’t it?)
It doesn’t matter how good, fast, or cheap you are if you’re the only one doing what you do.
Selecting two will increase your chances of success if you’re up against the competition. The decision about which two will strengthen your business is yours.