7 powerful business tips from "Rework"


I love reading books - especially those written by super smart people who disrupt doing business as usual in favor of creativity and productivity. Which is why I really enjoyed reading Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson.

This is a short, easy to read book, packed with productivity, mindset and business tips. In this post I'll be sharing some of my favorite highlights. 

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#1 Long-term business planning is guessing. 
Business owners who are just starting out don't need to waste lots of time building a painstakingly detailed five-year business plan. While you may well need to have a business plan to secure your funding, your plan is very likely going to be out of date within 12-18 months. You can't anticipate everything you'll learn while actually running your business and there will no doubt be some new technology or training that crops up in the meantime that will change how you do things anyway. Instead of slaving over a plan, take the pressure off yourself and pop in projections that seem realistic right now.

#2 Start at the epicenter [p.72]

In other words, when you start something new, you’re being pulled in lots of different directions and by lots of different impulses:

  • What you want to do

  • What you have to do

  • What you could do

It's very easy to get pulled off course by focusing on what you want and what you could do. Instead, the authors emphasize that you need to focus on what you have to do. That is the epicenter.

TIP> Find the epicenter for your business by asking yourself: if I took this element away would my business still exist? If you can get away without one thing or another, then do without it for now. Focus all your energy on making the essential elements of your business the best they can be. Everything else you do will depend on that foundation so make it really good!


#3 Ignore the details early on. [p. 73]

Details are important but it's easy to get lost in things that don’t really matter early on.  Nail the basics first, worry about specifics later.

In fact the most important thing to bear in mind is that you don’t even know which details matter most until after you start building!

TIP> Use a sharpie when you start to design something! If you use a small font or a fine tip pen, you are going into much detail. Draw big shapes and thick lines and use simple words instead. Keep it simple. (I love this tip - it really does work for me!)


#4 Commit to making decisions [p. 77]

OK this one really changed everything for me, especially when I applied it to handling my email inbox. It's takes commitment though!

The authors tell you to swap saying “Lets think about it” for “Let’s decide on it”. When a question, issue, email pops up, make a decision how you will respond and move forward. 

Because the truth is when you put off decisions they pile up. (And your email inbox starts creeping into the hundreds.)

Don’t wait for the perfect solution- just decide to move forward. Once you start doing this, you'll get into the flow and habit of making decision after decision which will help you build momentum and boost not just your morale but everyone on your team too.


#5 Avoid outside investors. 

This is one of the single most powerful pieces of advice for a new business owner. If you hand over some of your business power and decision-making to someone who isn't going to work in it, you'll do the hard work and they'll still have a say in what you do. The authors encourage you to avoid outside investors because "you wind up building what investors want instead of what customers want."  I'd add and what you want


#6 Trim the menu and throw less at the problem. [p.83]

When things aren’t working, the natural inclination is to throw more at the problem: more people, more time, or more money. In fact, that just makes the problem bigger. The right way to go about it is to cut back, do less. So don't push back your deadlines, don't increase your budget, don't hire an extra person. If it's not working, then streamline. If you keep throwing more resources at it, you’ll never stop.

#7 Don't delay a launch until everything feels ready.

Taking action even when you don't feel ready is a big part of early success. Here's what the authors say: "If you had to launch your business in two weeks, what would you cut out? You suddenly realize there's a lot of stuff you don't need. And what you do need seems obvious. When you impose a deadline, you gain clarity."

Finally I especially liked the part about why years of experience are mostly irrelevant, because so many new business owners I know feel so hampered by self doubt. This book really cuts through that.


To wrap up this post, here's a fun video preview of the book: