Definitively this book is under my top books that deliver high value in a concise manner. No fillers made it into this book that is for sure! Just as I like it.
This book will give you practical and proven business advice. No jargon, no academical theory, just down to earth information. Things that should be common sense, but are often ignored.
How to get started with your business
If you want to start a business, do it while keeping your day job. Your day job will provide you with the cash flow you need, so you’ll have less pressure and more opportunities to fail and thus learn.
“be realistic” is an excuse
Stop listening to people who tell you things like, “in the real world you can’t do that..” or “be realistic..” The truth is, the real world isn’t a place, its an excuse!
You don’t need to fail
“Fail early and fail often.” is popular advice, but failure isn’t a prerequisite for success. Actually, quite the opposite is shown, a Harvard Business school study found that already-successful entrepreneurs are far more likely to succeed again vs people that failed before or people that did it the first time.
Planning is guessing
Planning is overrated, trying to predict a business in the long-term is a fantasy. There are way too many variables which are outside of your control. Give up the guesswork, instead, focus on what to do next. Like this today, and this week. Figure out the next most important thing and do that. Make decisions right before you do something, not far in advance.
You don’t need to grow your company
Size is always seen as a desirable goal. But big companies have many problems. While small businesses dream of being bigger, big companies miss the flexibility and agility of small companies. Don’t grow just because you want to be bigger, grow if it is an absolute necessity.
Workaholism is shitty, figure out how to get things done faster
Workaholics try to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at them. It often is a way of trying to make up intellectual laziness with brute force. Instead, try to achieve elegant solutions that will save you work, then go enjoy something outside of work. You will come back much sharper than otherwise.
Do something that matters
If you feel like you’re contributing to something important, something bigger then yourself, you’ll be much more motivated and happy. Build your #legacy, make the change you want to see.
Solve your own problems
If a problem gives you an itch, solve it. When you build a product or service that solves your own problem, you will do it much better and you don’t need to ask anyone, you know exactly what to do. You will also fall in love with what you’re making.
Ideas are worthless, actions are key. Make it happen!
There is always time for important things
No time is an excuse, squeeze in a few extra hours of work into your week if needed, but most likely you can free up the time you need by reprioritizing and reorganizing your time.
Draw lines into the sand
More isn’t always better. That is certainly true in a software. Instead of feeling pressured to add the features of your competition or your users’ requests into your product, draw a line. Decide what you are focusing on. Most software is too complex, too many buttons, too much confusion. Build something that is the opposite of that. Most clients will thank you for it, and on most is where you should focus.
Writers like Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver found that forcing themselves to use simple language helped them deliver maximum impact. Bloated products are a result of too many resources thrown at them. Have a minimalistic approach, you don’t always need more people working on something.
Set your absolute priority, your epicenter
An epicenter is what remains if you ask yourself the question: “If I took this away, would what I’m selling still exist?” Repeat this process until you identify what truly is your epicenter, work from there.
Ignore details the beginning
In the beginning, something might seem so difficult that it will create inaction and wasted time. Ignore details for a while, Nail the basics first, worry about the rest later. Don’t waste time on decisions that are going to change anyway.
Decisions equal progress
Don’t build long to-do lists. They will be ignored anyway. Instead, focus on execution. The breakthrough will come if you ask yourself: “What can easily be done right now that’s good enough?” Long projects zap morale, decisions, and execution will create the momentum to finish them earlier.
Throw less at the problem
When things aren’t working, the natural inclination is to throw more at them. That make s the problem bigger, cut back instead. There is a good chance your project will end up better because you will be able to sort out what truly matters.
Focus your business on things that won’t change
Many companies focus on the next big thing, instead, build your core business around something that won’t change. For 37 signals those things are simplicity, speed, clarity, and ease of use. Thos are timeless principles, people are always going to want them.
Start with what you have
Gear doesn’t matter, it isn’t about using the best equipment. Use whatever enables you to start going. Play with it as well as you can.
Sell your by-products
Often in order to build something, you will have to solve a lot of problems on the way. Those solutions you can also sell. Observant and creative business minds spot these by-products and see opportunities.
Just launch it!
Deciding when to launch can be hard, there is always something you can improve or add. Ask yourself what you’d have to cut out if you’d launch in two weeks. Funny how that forces you to focus.
Use something real as an example, not documents and words
People read documents and words differently. There will be many interpretations and miss-interpretations will cause confusion and lost time. That’s why you want to get something that is real right away. That’s when you get a true understanding.
Interruptions are the enemy of productivity
You’re not staying late because there’s too much work, you just don’t get enough work done. The reason is interruptions, cut them out.
Avoid meetings, if you do meet, meet at the site
Meetings are often not a good use of time. Avoid them or meet at the site of the problem, less time will be wasted by pointing at real things and suggest changes.
A good idea is good enough
Don’t show off your skills, build something that gets the job done and then move on. Find solutions that deliver maximum efficiency with minimum effort.
Do quick wins all the time
Accomplishing small victories during the day is a great way to build up momentum and speed.
Don’t be a hero, leave your ego home
Sometimes the right solution is to quit. Don’t try to save something just because it was your idea, or you put a lot of work into it. People associate quitting with failure, that’s a good recipe to waste even more time on something not worth it.
What distinguishes people who are ten times more effective than the norm is not that they work ten times as hard; it’s that they use their creativity to come up with solutions that require one-tenth of the effort. Without sleep, you stop coming up with those one-tenth solutions.
Your estimation sucks which is why you should break things into smaller things that are easier to estimate.
The only to-do list you need, is a short list
Long lists are ignored anyway. Keep your lists short, don’t put priorities, the first item gets executed first, the second follows. Easy will get you things done.
Don’t copy, create
You may copy a product, but you can’t get a deep understanding of it that way. Your knowledge will be shallow. You will always be a step behind, watching the competition. Create your own things and lead the way instead.
Inject you into your product
Add your personal touch to your product. Something competitors will never be able to copy is the you in your product.
Pick your fights
You don’t need to do it all, do less than your competition. Do a few simple things and do them well, highlight your choice. People will love it.
Don’t worry about your competition, do your thing
Worrying will paralyze you. You become reactionary instead of visionary. Do the opposite, don’t worry. Just do your thing. Redefine the rules of the game. Others will have to start dancing by your rules.
Say no by default
If customers ask you for some new feature, get used to saying no. Your goal is to make sure your product stays right for you, not somebody. Don’t ruin it for yourself and everyone, just because somebody wanted you to change it.
Let your customers outgrow you
When your customers grow, they will ask for more. Don’t feel pressured to deliver, instead, be comfortable to let them go. Scaring away new customers is worse than losing a few old customers.
Check your enthusiasm
When you come up with a great new idea, you may be compelled to act. Instead, let it sit for a time. After some days you will be able to think more clearly and set the right priority on it.
Let your product speak
Instead of wasting money on marketing, build an audience. If people love what you do, they will listen. You won’t have to spend huge amounts of money to reach them.
Give more than you take
Out-teach your competition. Big companies are afraid to give out information. That is laughable, do the opposite, educate them. People will trust you more. They’ll respect you for it. You’ll get fans.
People like real
Don’t be afraid of your flaws and imperfections. People like real, not fake. Show what you’re working on, even if it isn’t perfect, it’s ok. You will seem more genuine.
Do it yourself first, then hire
Don’t hire from the get, first try to do it yourself. Then, when you know you really need it, hire new people.
Pass on people you don’t need
Problems start when you try to keep everyone busy. Don’t be afraid to pass on people you don’t need.
Create a culture where people speak out
You need an environment where everyone feels safe enough, to be honest when things get though. You need to be able to say “that idea is crap” it will save you a lot of problems down the way.
No delegators in small teams
Delegators are dead weight for a small team. They clog the pipes for others by coming up with busywork. When they run out of work to assign, they make up more — regardless of whether it needs to be done.
Hire managers of one
People who don’t need oversight, get those. When you leave them alone, they surprise you with how much they’ve gotten done.
Hire good writers
Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves into someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. Those qualities you want in any candidate.
The best are everywhere
Get the best remote workers, don’t limit yourself to your location. You only need a few work-hours of overlap to communicate. Two hours of overlap should be plenty.
Expose everyone to your customers
Don’t protect people from criticism. Once they listen to what customers are saying, they’ll know where the priorities lie.
Treat people as adults
If you treat people like children, as children they will behave. You will create a culture of non-thinkers. A boss-versus-worker relationship won’t get you far. You can try to force people to be at work for eight hours, but they won’t be productive. Look at the second order effects of your rules and you will quickly realize that failing to trust in your employees is awfully expensive.
Send people home at 5
You don’t need more hours, you need better hours. When people have a life outside of work, they get things done. They find ways of being more efficient.