A Fast Guide to Modern Business Practices
Experience matters, and the founders of the software company 37signals have enough successful experience in the real world to offer everyone some practical advice. After 10 years of sustained profitability, entrepreneurs Jason Fried and David Hansson have collected the best ideas that have made their company a role model for others. In Rework, they redefine the rules of business to fit the realities of success in the 21st century.
The co-authors of Rework have made millions of dollars and created millions of customers with about 16 employees (in eight cities on two continents) and no marketing department. While creating several popular software products (Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire), they have rejected advertising, meetings, boards of directors and salespeople. Plotting their own path to success, they have built a company that has emerged triumphantly through bubbles, recessions, and good times and bad. In Rework, Fried and Hansson capture the strategies and attitudes that have combined to make their business a booming success.
Much of the advice in Rework runs contrary to the standard business lessons found in other texts. For example, while many authors tell readers to write down their business plans, grow their businesses and create an exit strategy, Fried and Hansson write that each of these actions is unnecessary and wasteful.
They explain that a written business plan is practically useless. Too much information is up in the air, so your long-term business plan will most likely turn out to be a futile attempt to grip sand in your fist. Instead of wasting your time guessing about the far future, they write, you should stick to working on what you are doing today, or this week. Plans that tackle much longer timelines often gather dust while perpetual change makes them obsolete.
The authors also explain that too many leaders are preoccupied with growing their companies. Instead of getting caught up in the continuous growth game, leaders should be more concerned with finding the right size for their companies.
Expanding prematurely often leads to downsizing. When you fire good people, the authors point out, you damage the morale and productivity of those who stay. Fried and Hansson add that sustainability and profitability are more important than growth, so don’t get caught up in the growth hype.
Focus on the Right Things
What about creating an exit strategy? The authors write that you should instead focus on serving your customers when you are getting started, not worrying about who will buy your company. Committing to your business, people and customers is much more important than selling out, so get your priorities straight.
Another great thing about Rework is its pithy format, which offers readers short, powerful messages that have been boiled down to their leanest and most important facts. There is no fluff in these pages. Throughout the book, the authors provide readers with valuable, experience-based advice that is delivered in small, effective packages. Their inspiring ideas can help anyone learn how to make a modern company succeed.