The Value Triangle

Have you ever had a prospective client or customer say something like this?

“I’d like you to have you do my project, but I’m on tight budget, I need to have several custom features, and I’m really in a hurry to have it finished.” If so, I’m sure those are not the projects you eagerly jump at.

Several years ago I heard someone talk about the “Value Triangle,” and it has been very helpful when deciding if a client will be a good fit for my business. It has also been a great tool for explaining “how things work” when hashing out project details.

Here’s how it works…

The value of any transaction has 3 primary factors

  • Speed
  • Quality
  • Cost

The bottom line is that you have to choose between these factors. You can’t have them all simultaneously. They need to be prioritized. As you rotate the triangle around, you can see how as one point moves to the top, signifying prioritization, the others must move down. In practice, an easy way to communicate this to clients is to explain the 3 factors and tell them to choose two. This helps them to see that they can’t have it all. At that point, you are left with two factors that you can prioritize.

Let’s look at a couple of situations to illustrate how this would work in the “real world.”

Situation #1 – Web Design Project
A client comes to a web designer and says he wants a customized website done quickly on a tight budget.

  • If he wants it customized and fast, it will cost him more.
  • If he wants it fast and cheap, then he will need to accept standard features.
  • If he really wants the customization and doesn’t  have much wiggle room on price, then you might consider taking the project and working on it during your slow times.

Situation #2 – Marketing a New Product
You’ve just finished creating an online course on “How to Make Money with Social Media.” Keeping the Value Triangle in mind can help you with how you word your marketing materials.

  • Is this program going to get people making money fast with precision tactics? Then it likely won’t be a low priced offer.
  • Are you are positioning it as a budget-friendly offer? Then promising quick results with top-quality information may not be realistic.

With every project remember to ask yourself which of the 3 features of speed, quality and cost are your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd priorities.

I hope the Value Triangle serves you well during the planning and implementation stages of your next project.