Rework has become a handbook for many beginner entrepreneurs. By debunking popular myths about starting a business, it explains how to make an idea profitable in an easier, faster, and more cost-effective way. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the authors of the book, have themselves created several successful products, including the popular project management tool called Basecamp. So all the recommendations they give are relevant and proven in practice.
We’ve read Rework and gathered some valuable insights for you. Take a look at them to avoid the most common mistakes that often lead to business failure.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment
A lot of people dreaming of their own business don’t take any action because they think that it’s not the perfect moment yet. In Rework, Fried and Heinemeier claim that such behavior is wrong. Inspiration motivates us and drives our productivity but it won’t last forever. The time is now, so put your inspiration to work once it grabs you. It’s only what we do that matters. Ideas or plans without execution amounts to nothing.
Staying small is okay
It’s one of the main ideas Fried and Heinemeier describe in the book. We are used to believing that success equals massive growth and vice versa. But not all businesses need to expand. According to Rework, it’s not the size of your company that makes it successful. Having just a few team members may be enough to create a decent product. For instance, five talented and committed employees can sometimes do more than 20 people not interested in what they are doing.
Small teams are also more flexible and adaptable to ever-changing market conditions. This helps them stay afloat, maintain profitability, and easily change a direction when needed. So instead of being an end in itself, business growth should occur at a comfortable pace.
Basecamp company, a Fried and Heinemeier’s creation, is a great illustration of this principle in work. More than three million people use its solutions worldwide but its team still consists of only 51 employees (as of 2019).
Less is more
Many beginner entrepreneurs try to overdo the competition so they stuff their products with all possible features. Some also believe that following customer requests is a reliable approach because if people say that they want something, they’re definitely ready to buy it. But are they really?
Fried and Heinemeier claim that it doesn’t work like that. Usually, customers don’t know what they need and how to solve their problems in a better (not traditional) way. In Rework, authors provide a quote by Henry Ford, who once said that if he had listened to customers, he would have given them a faster horse.
In practice, people rarely need complex feature-rich solutions. Even if they buy such products, they often use only several functions, leaving the rest untouched. So the idea outlined in the book is that entrepreneurs must be able to say “No” to customers. Doing so will allow them to keep features to a minimum and create clutter-free products with simpler and more attractive functionality.
To define what functions users really need, Fried and Heinemeier suggest getting to the roots of their problems. Entrepreneurs should constantly ask themselves if a specific feature can help people solve those problems or it’s just a fancy thing that has nothing to do with the real needs of a target audience.
You have enough resources
Unlike many other authors of business books, Fried and Heinemeier do not recommend seeking investors when you’re just starting off. By providing you with financial support, these people get the authority to influence the critical decisions regarding a product. As a result, you’ll have to build what investors want, not what your customers need.
Most businesses have some constraints and limitations. The point is to figure out what maximum you can achieve with the resources you have and start searching for additional money or people only after you reach the threshold.
Build a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy
It’s a common thing to have an exit strategy from the very beginning. But according to Fried and Heinemeier, it’s like planning a break-up when you’re just starting dating someone. Entrepreneurs should put more effort into thinking about making their businesses grow and succeed, not about jumping ship.
Interruptions kill productivity
If people work overtime, it doesn’t always mean that they complete a lot of tasks. Usually, employees are not getting enough things done during standard working hours because they’re constantly distracted. Emails, messages, social media, phone calls, and other noise don’t allow us to create an “alone zone” and concentrate. So Fried and Heinemeier suggest setting aside a few hours of interruption-free time every day to do the work faster.
Rework also offers to avoid meetings that lack a specific agenda and structure. Such meetings take much time but the amount of conveyed information is minimum so their overall cost is too high.
Although Rework was published almost a decade ago, it hasn’t lost its relevance over the years. Fried and Heinemeier show readers an unconventional yet effective way to build a business and succeed. So the book is a must-read for anyone who plans to start their own project but lacks knowledge and experience.