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Lessons from Rework

My messy desk

I really enjoyed reading Rework, a great little business book for anyone who’s their own boss.

I sat down to share some nuggets from the book but the guys from Escape the City have beaten me to it. Given that the book despises “workaholism” I’m just going to copy and paste their post rather than writing my own.

p. 22 – Why Grow?

Don’t make assumptions about how big you should be ahead of time…. Grow slow and see what feels right – premature hiring is the death of many companies. Don’t be insecure about aiming to be a small business. Anyone who runs a business that’s sustainable and profitable, whether it’s big or small, should be proud.

p. 43 – Draw a line in the sand

Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service… A strong stand is how you attract superfans.

Strong opinions aren’t free. You’ll turn some people off. That’s life – for everyone who loves you, there will be others who hate you. If no one’s upset by what you’re saying you’re probably not pushing hard enough.

p. 50 – Outside money is Plan Z

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.

p. 70 – Build half a product, not a half-assed product

You can turn a bunch of great ideas into a crappy product real fast by trying to do them all at once. Getting to great starts by cutting out stuff that’s merely good.

p. 72 – Start at the epicenter

There’s the stuff you could do, the stuff you want to do, and the stuff you have to do. The stuff you have to do is where you should begin. Ask yourself this question: “If I took this away, would what I’m selling still exist?”

p.74 – Ignore the details early on

Nail the basics first and worry about the specifics later. Besides, you often can’t recognise the details that matter most until after you start building. That’s when you see what needs more attention.

p. 80 – Be a curator

Make conscious decisions about what should stay and what should go. It’s the stuff you leave out that matters. So constantly look for things to remove, simplify, and streamline. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to.

p. 93 – Launch now

Once your product does what it needs to do, get it out there. Just because you’ve still got a list of things to do doesn’t mean it’s not done.

p.115 – Quick wins

Momentum fuels motivation. Get in the habit of accomplishing small victories along the way.

p.141 – Pick a fight

Being the anti-xxxxxx is a great way to differentiate yourself and attract followers.

p. 144 – Underdo your competition

Conventional wisdom says that to beat your competitors you need to one-up them. Do less than your competitors to beat them. Solve the simple problems and leave the big hairy, nasty, difficult ones to your competitors.

p.153 – Say no by default

It’s so easy to say yes. Use the power of no to get your priorities straight. People avoid saying no because confrontation makes them uncomfortable. Your goal is to make sure your product stays right for you. You’re the one who has to believe in it most.

p. 167 – Welcome obscurity

No one knows who you are right now. And that’s just fine. Use this time to make mistakes without the whole world hearing about them.

p. 170 – Build an audience

All companies have customers. Lucky companies have fans. But the most fortunate companies have audiences. An audience returns often – on its own – to see what you have to say.

p. 173 – Out-teach your competition

Teaching is something individuals and small companies can do that bigger companies can’t. You can afford to teach, and that’s something they’ll never do, because big companies are obsessed with secrecy. Teaching is your chance to outmanoeuvre them.

p. 179 – Go behind the scenes

Give people a backstage pass and show them how your business works. People are curious about how things are made. Letting people behind the curtain changes your relationship with them.

p. 249 – You don’t create a culture

You don’t create a culture. It happens. Culture is the by-product of consistent behaviour. Don’t force it.

p.262 – Sound like you

The mask of professionalism is a joke. Yet small companies still try to emulate it. Being honest about who you are is smart business. Don’t be afraid to be you.

Buy the book here.
Read the Escape the City blog here.

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