Good Fast Cheap is still relevant

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on May 14, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “Good, fast, cheap. Pick two”. It nicely summarizes the way that businesses sell their offering. They might be good and fast (but not cheap), they might be good and cheap (but not fast), or they might be fast and cheap (but not good).

In some of the reading I’ve done, I’ve noticed that some business thinkers recently are railing against this model and suggesting that today’s business needs to be all three. I disagree. I think this model is still valid, even if it is a bit simplistic.

The reason that I think it’s still relevant is that there are so many more options out there today and many of them try to be all three. It’s hard for a business to do well over the long term when they aim for the good–fast–cheap model. Good and fast take resources and those resources aren’t cheap. Fast and cheap takes a certain amount of intensity that will diminish how good something is. Good and cheap can be time consuming.

Having said that, companies that choose to be two from the list and not a third should still work at reducing the impact of the third. If you offer good and fast service, you can’t expect to be cheap but you can still work at keeping your prices low and offering good value, for example. But the reality is: you will never be cheap. So don’t try to be.

Figure out what you are and embrace it. Don’t try to do all three.

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.

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