8 min read…
What would be your idea of starting a business? Writing a business plan, studying the competition, seeking investors, etc? Rework breaks all these conventions and standards. Planning is harmful, you must underdo your competition, you don’t need an office, and meetings are poisonous are some of the disruptive messages this book offers.
Written by the founders of 37Signals, Rework lists a lot of counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.
If you are a hardcore entrepreneur, a small-business owner, or stuck in daily jobs that you hate but afraid of starting your own business – this book is for you.
“With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own.”
I had initially conjured up to 30 points for this blog post, then trimmed it down to 16 after much scrutiny. 16 was still long enough for a 10-minute read. So, I left out things I thought were obvious or less important than others and included only 6 takeaways.
WARNING: At a quick glance, this might not interest you because most of you are in day jobs and you don’t care about business decisions as long as you get paid. So, as you read this article, try to compare it with your organization’s principles or think like you own a business. This way, you can comprehend the unconventional ideas.
1. DO NOT PLAN
A long-term business plan is a fantasy. There are a few too many uncontrollable factors – market conditions, competitors, customers, the economy, etc. Planning is guessing. They aren’t worth your stress.
This isn’t to say planning is worthless. It’s prudent to think about the future and contemplate potential obstacles. But, do not obsess over it.
Give up on the guesswork. Plan your next week, not next year. Find out the next most important thing to do and do that. Make decisions right before you do something, not in advance.
2. ABOLISH THE WORD “ENTREPRENEUR”
The E-word is outdated and comes with expectations. It smells like an exclusive club. Everyone should be encouraged to start their own business. So, let’s call everyone starters.
There are a lot of people starting new ventures and turning profits yet never call themselves entrepreneurs or even business owners. They just do what they love on their own terms and get paid for it.
Why can’t we motivate everyone to start their own business? We all have different jobs and often we don’t compare them because we cannot; the jobs we do are diverse. Why can’t we achieve the same with businesses?
3. START A BUSINESS, NOT A STARTUP
‘Startup’ is a magical place. It’s a place where expenses are someone else’s problem and revenue is never an issue. You spend other people’s money to figure out how to make your own.
This is a fairy tale. The truth is that every business is governed by the same market forces and economic rules. Revenue in expenses out. Make a profit or wind up.
Startups try to ignore this reality. They are run by people trying to postpone the inevitable – that moment when their business has to grow, make a profit and be a real, sustainable business. A business without a path to profit isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.
4. MEETINGS ARE TOXIC
Meetings are the worst form of interruptions. Most times, only the presenter is prepared and there are always diversions along the way. Meetings often procreate without a goal or a solution – one meeting leads to another that leads to another…
The true cost of meetings is staggering. If we invite 10 people for a 1-hour meeting, it is, in fact, a 10-hour meeting (ten hours of productivity) or sometimes more when you consider mental-switch costs between tasks.
Judged on a pure cost basis, meetings would suddenly become liabilities, not assets. If you still decide to huddle together, consider these alternatives:
- Set a timer. When it’s over, the meeting has ended.
- Have a clear agenda.
- Invite as few as possible.
- Begin with a specific problem.
- Meet at the site of the problem. (and not in a conference room) Point to real objects.
- End with a solution and make someone responsible for implementing it.
5. DON’T WRITE IT DOWN
How do you track what customers want? Listen, but do not make a note of it. This sounds ridiculous, but there’s no need for a spreadsheet or a filing system.
The requests that really matter are the ones you will hear over and over. You won’t be able to forget them as your customers will be your memory. They will keep reminding you; showing you which features you really need to worry about.
6. ASAP IS POISON
Saying ASAP at the end of every sentence means we are saying everything is a high priority and we lose the real meaning of the word.
So, reserve your use of emergency for true emergencies. For everything else, chill out.
- Say ‘NO’ by default to customers’ requests for new features.
- You don’t need to grow your business.
- Press releases are spam. Prefer niche media over mass media.
- Mission statements are a fallacy.
Words like ‘startup’ and ‘entrepreneurs’ come with a lot of baggage. They sound like a members-only club. But, today, anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few bucks or even free.
We hope you liked this blog. What is your ONE takeaway from Rework?
– Kavi & Ninja
Design credits: Canva