Thursday, April 22, 2010

Simplicity leads to efficiency

Do one thing and do it well. Tom Peters would argue to chose one thing that you can be the best in the world at. Keep it Simple Stupid, or "KISS." In a conversation this afternoon I found myself, again, pontificating on the virtues of simplicity in business. I found myself say that "simplicity leads to efficiency." And while that statement simply came out organically, after having reflected upon it since then, I still believe in it's merit.

Successful entrepreneurs are visionaries. They see things which don't exist. They envision solutions to problems and therapies to some pain in the market. It is this vision which makes them successful.

This "blue sky" outlook can also be their vice. I've seen entrepreneurs see such a wide variety of options and potential for their business that they explore so many different avenues within their business, and ultimately, their core business suffers.

While neither extreme is healthy, a measured approach to both ensures the greatest potential for success. The best entrepreneurs know to solely dedicate themselves to their core competency, first and foremost. They will explore natural extensions of that competency only when there are sufficient resources to do so and the monetary potential makes it worthwhile. They will recognize when their creative energies have become such an offshoot from their initial vision that it is a separate business unto itself.

Some will argue that diversity in a business is necessary to insulate it from changing market trends and other threats. And while I will concede that many businesses take this route, there are also many solid companies that do one thing and do it extremely well (I can't think of any specific examples offhand, but I would suspect they are privately held and well known brands. Please share if you can think of any).

Getting back to simplicity leading to efficiency, the context of the conversation was actually about a product, not a business. In general, I think that engineers are motivated to add more "stuff" to products because they can and it excites them to do so. However, this does not mean that the product then becomes better, more reliable, incrementally more profitable. Actually, the inverse of those is probably closer to the truth. So, just as I believe that simplicity leads to efficiency for businesses, I believe the same also holds true for products. Budding and seasoned entrepreneurs alike, keep this in mind as you look to add complexity to your business and its offerings. Best wishes...

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