Years ago, a friend told me about the “pick two” rule of thumb his IT company used in explaining options to clients. I’m not sure who developed the “pick two” example originally, but it still serves as a useful and simple tool today.
Fast + Cheap = Lesser Quality
Good + Fast = More Expensive
Cheap + Good = Slower Delivery
They also used the analogy of a service/product being represented by a three-legged stool where each leg “stands for” (pun intended) one element of the mix: speed, cost or quality. Quite simply, a two-legged stool won’t stand, so all three variables MUST be represented. It helps create a simple picture in a person’s mind to illustrate the concept.
When planning your next project, start by deciding what TWO variables are most important to your success. If a tight budget is an issue, look for a solution where the price is attractive and the quality is good, but you can wait longer to finish the project (or receive the materials). However, if you need excellent service that is super responsive, be prepared to pay more!
Communication is always a key in any positive relationship or transaction. Be sure to express your most important concerns upfront and discuss how they will be addressed. If you are selecting a company to assist you for the first time, it is generally a good idea to interview or request proposals or quotes from more than one candidate/company (I generally recommend two or three) to help you better understand your options.
Also, be sure to check references carefully and also cross-check your favorite company online by doing a company name search and an owner name search (if they are a small or mid-sized business). You might also want to quickly check with the Better Business Bureau in the area they serve (and you can even do this online). Lastly, be sure to have a signed contract or letter of agreement to make certain everyone is on the same page in terms of the scope of work, deadlines and financial obligations.
Identifying your two most important priorities will help you in selecting the best partner to achieve your goals. No matter what combo of good, fast or cheap you select … I hope you pick the “dynamic-duo” that is best for you!
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