Promise Your Customers Less

Posted by: Nick Leiber on June 25, 2008

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

Reader Comments

Ev Land

July 1, 2008 03:55 PM

I have been working four day work weeks for years, that is one of the main reasons I started a cleaning business to begin with. It does present a problem for retail businesses though, since most people do expect to get service Monday through Friday. Another reason for 4 day work weeks are the savings in energy, those savings are getting huge with the rising cost of energy and this prolonged recession!

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About

What's it like to run your own company today? Entrepreneurs face multiple hurdles new and old, from raising capital and managing employees to keeping up with technology and competing in a global marketplace. In this blog, the Small Business channel's John Tozzi and Nick Leiber discuss the news, trends, and ideas that matter to small business owners. Follow them on Twitter @newentrepreneur.

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