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The Price Is Right?

Many entrepreneurs are consumed with putting price tags on their products or services. But at what cost to their businesses?

This story appears in the October 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Whenever a prospective client asks Curt Nelson for the cost of his product, he always replies with the same answer: "I'm not sure." Exactly why does he do this? Nelson says he honestly doesn't know the cost until he talks to the customer, and, equally important, he doesn't want to get into a price war.

"Price isn't [the only thing] that drives a customer, even though everyone thinks it is," contends Nelson, 47, president of Crystal Group Inc., a Hiawatha, Iowa, computer manufacturer. "The real issue is always value. Think of it this way: Would you eat the cheapest hamburger simply because it cost next to nothing, regardless of how it tastes?"

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