Rework authors Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hansson are the founders of 37signals, developer of project management software Basecamp. They make some bold points on a range of startup topics that will get you thinking – whether you agree or not. Here are a few of their best pointers:
Plan quickly. It’s important to think about the future, but don’t write a long document and obsess over it. Figure out what you need to do this week, and do it.
Get started. Your idea is nearly worthless. It’s what you do with it that counts (my addition: you’re almost certain to change your initial idea). The most important thing is to begin. Also, forget about the “perfect” time – it never really arrives.
Stay lean. You need less than you may think to build a business. Work from home or sublet space. Start with a skeleton crew. Get noticed by customers yourself and forget PR firms and ad agencies. Use rented technology instead of building your own. Avoid long term contracts, inventory, and overhead. You’ll save money, increase flexibility, and improve your odds of succeeding.
Pursue profits. “A business without a path to profit isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.” Yes, some founders build audiences and pray that they’ll find business models later, or that Google will swoop in and buy them. Leave that to them.
Less is more. At a startup, you just can’t do it all. So stop trying. Whittle your products down to include just a few of the most critical features. If you are opening a hot dog stand, start by providing a great hot dog. Without that, you’ve got nothing. Get the hot dog right, and you can add the relish, name, cart and decorations later.
Niche media rules. Want to get attention? The old model of sending press releases to the Wall Street Journal doesn’t work for startups. It’s easier to get noticed by niche media, and you’ll probably get more out of it.
Give it away. Share some of your most valuable insights with free posts, comments, articles and videos. Offer free trials. If your customers like what you provide for free, they’re more likely to return - pay for what you’re selling.
Agree? Disagree? Got additional insights from the book? Do tell…