Rework is written by the founders of Basecamp/37signals. It suggests a path for businesses to stay small. Not literally, but in their way of work.
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson want you to be personal and customer-focused, as you usually are when starting a business. You don’t need to ramp up until it’s absolutely necessary. Rework book is all about being frugal in everything you do.
The book is short, with concise, value-worthy and action-oriented chapters. And this Rework book summary tries to capture the essence of the book.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
This real world is an awfully depressing place to live. Scratch the surface, and you’ll find these real-world inhabitants are filled with pessimism and despair. They expect fresh concepts to fail. Don’t believe them. That world may be real, but it doesn’t mean you must live in it.
Don’t get fooled by the stats. Other people’s failures are just that: other people’s failures. The only things that win are what people already know and do, even if they’re flawed and inefficient.
Work on your business instead of planning based on real-world factors. Planning is guessing. Business plans are guesses, your financial plans are guesses, and your strategic plans are… yes, guesses.
You have to be able to improvise and take opportunities that come along. Sometimes, you need to say, “We’re going in a new direction because that’s what makes sense today.”
Don’t be insecure about aiming to be a small business.
Until you actually start making something, your brilliant idea is just that: an idea. And everyone has one of those. Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The real question is how well you execute.
There’s always enough time if you spend it right. When you want something bad enough, you make the time. We’re talking about squeezing out a few extra hours a week.
As you get going, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something, have a backbone, know what you’re fighting for, and then show the world.
Interested in only the essential lessons? Check Rework book quotes
Also, no matter what kind of business you’re starting, take on as little outside cash as possible.
- You give up control.
- Cashing out begins to trump building a quality business.
- Spending other people’s money is addictive.
- It’s usually a bad deal.
- Customers move down the totem pole.
- Raising money is incredibly distracting.
You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy. If you do manage to get a good thing going, keep it going. Good things don’t come around that often
Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. And that forces you to be creative. So, sacrifice some of your darlings for the greater good. You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole.
Getting infatuated with details too early leads to disagreements, meetings and delays. You get lost in things that don’t really matter. Besides, you often can’t recognize the details that matter most until after you start building.
You don’t need the best gear in the world to be good. It’s not the gear that matters. It’s playing what you’ve got as well as you can. Make the call, make progress, and get something out now.
So, figure out your epicentre. Then, focus all your energy on making it the best it can be. The core of your business should be built around things that won’t change.
Problems can usually be solved with simple, mundane solutions. You build something that gets the job done and move on. When good enough gets the job done, go for it.
Divide problems into smaller and smaller pieces until you’re able to deal with them completely and quickly. Long lists don’t get done.
And a quick suggestion about prioritization: Prioritize visually. Put the most important thing at the top. That way, you’ll only have a single next most important thing to do at a time.
There’s a great way to protect yourself from copycats: Make you part of your product or service. Make it something no one else can offer.
Do less than your competitors to beat them. Solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to the competition. Instead of one-upping, try one-downing. Instead of outdoing, try underdoing.
Don’t shy away from the fact that your product or service does less. Highlight it. Be proud of it. Sell it as aggressively as competitors sell their extensive feature lists.
It’s not worth paying much attention to the competition anyway. Focus on yourself instead.
Start getting into the habit of saying no. Use the power of no to get your priorities straight.
Don’t be a jerk about saying no, though. Just be honest. People are surprisingly understanding when you take the time to explain your point of view.
And let your customers outgrow you when needed. People and situations change. You can’t be everything to everyone.
A lot of businesses still spend big bucks to reach people. Today’s smartest companies know better. Instead of going out to reach people, you want people to come to you. An audience returns often – on its own – to see what you have to say.
Build an audience. Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos. Share information that’s valuable and you’ll slowly but surely build a loyal audience. Give people a backstage pass and show them how your business works.
Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Imperfections are real and people respond to real. There’s beauty to imperfection.
When you need to get the word out, the right people will already be listening.
Never hire anyone to do a job until you’ve tried to do it yourself first. That way, you’ll understand the nature of the work. The right time to hire is when there’s more work than you can handle for a sustained period of time. Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain.
And don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need someone from one of the “best” schools to get results. You want a candidate who cares specifically about your company, your products, your customers, and your job.
You want someone who’s capable of building something from scratch and seeing it through. Finding these people frees the rest of your team to work more and manage less.
When something goes wrong, it should be you to tell the story. Own your bad news. People will respect you more if you are open, honest, public, and responsive during a crisis.
Getting back to people quickly is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to customer service. It’s amazing how much that can defuse a bad situation and turn it into a good one.
And make sure everyone on the team is to your customers – maybe not every day, but at least a few times throughout the year.
You don’t create a culture. It happens. Culture is the by-product of consistent behaviour. If you encourage people to share, then sharing will be built into your culture. If you reward trust, then trust will be built in. If you treat customers right, that becomes your culture.
We’re all capable of bad, average, and great work. The environment has a lot more to do with great work than most people realise.
And that was all in this Rework summary
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