Chasing Numbers

Recently, one of my good friends talked about people who are just out to chase a number: price is the only thing that matters to them. They are only looking at the price tag to help them make a decision.

To be honest, that’s how a lot of people operate, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s another way to look at the market and the world around us.

In a brief nutshell, here it is:

There are three principles in business that correlate with every product or service. They are price, quality, and time. Most people don’t even think about time because we currently live in a world of instant gratification, but that’s a topic for another time.

As a general rule, you can only have two out of these three principles.

For example, you can hire a contractor to completely remodel your house, and you want it done well but have a smaller budget so the carpenter spreads out the amount of work over two years. So you got the work at a cheap price but the timetable is out the window.

Another example, you want a contractor to remodel your house but you want quality and speed. The contractor has to bring in more labor for the project, so it gets really expensive really quickly and you have to pay a huge bill now. You have quality with speed, but it is not going to be cheap.

Last but not least, you can get your house remodeled cheap and quick but a lot of corners are going to be cut, and the material is most likely going to be really cheap. Again, you got price and time, but you didn’t get quality.

So what’s the point?

I am bringing all of this up because most of us chase numbers. Most of us think that price is the most important aspect of any purchase. Really? I know I can always make more money, but I can’t get more time. Still, most of us try and drive our prices down because cheaper is better right? A lot of people buy the same way: “I need it cheap and I need it yesterday,” but it better be the best thing on God’s green earth.

That’s just not going to happen. You cannot have all three.

How many cheap things have you ended up having to buy more of? How many cheap services ended up costing more in the long run? How much more difficult was the cheaper solution?

Sure there are some products where quality is moot, like plastic cups, but that’s not true for every product. When it comes to services rendered, the gap in quality can be enormous.

No matter what principle of buying or selling you start with, the other two principles are always there whether you acknowledge them or not.

What are you chasing? What is important to you? What is important to your customers?

Don’t chase the numbers, you can always make more money, but you can’t make more time.