This is the second part in the Rework book review series, where we learn simple, yet unconventional business methods that really work. Check out the first post to catch up on what you missed. Join my free Facebook group for women entrepreneurs if you’d like to discuss these points with other business women.
Whenever you can, swap “Let’s think about it” for “Let’s decide on it.” Don’t wait for the perfect solution. Decide and move forward. (p77) Ask what can we easily do now that’s good enough? In your business, you don’t have to live with a decision forever. If you make a mistake, you can correct it later.
It doesn’t matter how much you plan, you’ll still get some stuff wrong anyway. Don’t make things worse by overanalyzing and delaying before you even get going. Get something out now – while you’ve got the motivation and momentum to do so. Long projects zap morale. (p78)
What makes a museum great is the stuff that’s NOT on the walls. Someone says no. There’s an editing process. Constantly look for things to remove, simplify and streamline. Stick to what’s truly essential. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to. (p 80)
The menus at failing restaurants offered too many dishes. Chef Gordon Ramsay’s first step on his show Kitchen Nightmares was nearly always to trim the menu, usually from thirty-plus dishes to around ten! Think about that. Improving the current menu didn’t come first. Then he polished what was left. Cut back. Do less. If you start pushing back deadlines and increasing your budget, you’ll never stop. (p83)
The core of your business should be build around things that won’t change. Things that people are going to want today and ten years from now. Those are the things you should invest in. Those are timeless desires. Fashion fades away. Focus on permanent features. For Basecamp (the authors’ software company), things like speed, simplicity, ease of use and clarity are their focus. (p85)
Guitar gurus say, “Tone is in your fingers.” You can buy the same guitar, effects pedals, and amplifier that a famous guitarist uses, but when you play that rig, it’s still going to sound like you. In business, too many people obsess over tools, software tricks, scaling issue, fancy office space… instead of what really matters. And what really matters is how to actually get customers and make money. Use whatever you’ve got already or can afford cheaply. Then go. It’s not the gear that matters. It’s playing what you’ve got as well as you can. (p88)
When you make something, you always make something else. You can’t make just one thing. Everything has a by-product. Observant and creative business minds spot these by-products and see opportunities. Our last book, Getting Real, was a by-product. We wrote that book without even knowing it. The experience that came from building a company and building software was the waste from actually doing the work. We swept up that knowledge first into blog posts, then into a workshop series, then into a .pdf, and then into a paperback. That by-product has made Basecamp more than $1 million directly and probably more than $1 million indirectly. Software companies don’t usually think about writing books. There’s probably something you haven’t thought about that you could sell too. (p90)
So, which piece of business advice resonates with you most? I have to laugh out loud because the “Tone in Your Fingers” is so true in the photography industry. When people tell me, “Oh, you have a nice camera so you can take great pictures” I try not to sarcastically reply, “Oh, you have a top of the line stove, so your cooking must be amazing!”