Everyone knows that time equals money. The more time you spend on doing something, the more it is going to cost you and vice versa. This means that you can manipulate one of these attributes by changing the other. The relationship between time and money isn't always linear. You can for example, spend more time on something to lower its cost. The simplest example would be to hire someone cheaper and have them work on something for a longer period of time compared to hiring an expert to finish it earlier.
This trade-off between speed and cost is something that we all are familiar with. If you are on a budget, you work around that. If you need something fast, you pay more. But things get complicated when you bring quality into the equation.
Unlike time and money, there's no reliable way to quantify quality. To make matters worse, everyone have their own definition of it. In the food industry, some diners might focus solely on the taste while the others take into account the atmosphere and service of the restaurant.
There are some cases where quality is ignored or at least of less importance. When choosing between which store to rent movies from, most of us would either choose the cheaper one or the nearer one to save time. This happens a lot when you are dealing with commodities.
When trying to differentiate your product from the rest of the market, it is best not to focus on making it cheaper or faster. The reason for this is simple. There is a limit on how fast you can do a haircut and how cheap you can charge for a meal.
Quality on the other hand, as stated before, is something more subjective. There are more ways for you to improve the quality of your products and services. You can appeal to the interest of your customers instead of their wallets and watches.
The best thing about focusing on quality is that when you are good enough, your customers will ignore the speed and cost of your product. Look at the line outside a famous restaurant. People are willing to trade their time for a chance to dine there and most of the time the bill isn't exactly cheap.
If you are starting a business or looking to revamp your product line, I think it's a good idea to look at how you can make it more attractive to your customer. Obviously you still need to keep tabs on the cost and time but it will definitely be worth your time to put a little more thoughts into the quality of your products.