Promise Your Customers Less

You may have shrugged off the bestseller

You may have shrugged off the bestseller “The 4-Hour Workweek,” particularly if you run your own business and manage more than a few employees. But a four-day workweek? Sure, it’s a still a stretch but at least it fits within the confines of most entrepreneurs’ imaginations.

Check out this column by Bill Taylor on Harvard Business Publishing. It’s a look at a growing company called 37Signals that recently instituted an official four-day workweek. It’s also a paean to a counterintuitive approach that could change the way you do business.

When you’re competing against companies that have so much more, the only answer is to do less,” Jason and David told me. “Do less than your competitors to beat them. Instead of one-upping other companies, one-down them. Instead of out-doing other products, under-do them.”

I get it, I responded: Less is more, right? Jason and David shook their heads. “No, less is less—because more is not better! Everyone tries to do too much: solve too many problems, build products with too many features. Our goal is to do less, to build half a product rather than a half-assed product. So we say ‘no’ to almost everything. If you include every decent idea that comes along, you’ll just wind up with a half-assed version of your product. What you really want to do is build half a product that kicks ass.

It’s a good example of the type of news, trends, and ideas we’ll be posting regularly on our staff blog, The New Entrepreneur.

Let us know what you think, Nick Leiber Small Business Channel Editor