REWORK – Insights Part #2 – Productivity, Competitors, Evolution, and Promotion

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 Want insights on how to improve in the areas productivity, competition, company evolution and promotion? If you truly want to improve your business, then open your mind to new thoughts.

First, I should remind everyone that the insights shared are copyright Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-authors of REWORK and the founders of 37 Signals.

This message is the second of three messages that are dedicated to sharing the best of a new book I read called REWORK.

The previous post dealt with business pitfalls and how to stay committed to on-going progress within your business.

Many in this fast-paced world confuse hysterical activity with genuine productivity. As a small business owner and business coach for other entrepreneurs, I also see an ever growing need for improved handling of a growing volume of competitors within most industries. Much of it has to do with how technology has given unprecedented power to small business owners and dreamers around the globe. The recent affects of the global recession have also impacted things in America. It is forcing business owners to scour the Internet and their networks of contacts to find new ways to promote their business, so they can try and get the elusive leg up on competition see their company evolve in a positive manner.

I am sharing what hit home with me from REWORK in the areas of competition, evolution and promotion. If any of the below insights strike a chord with you, I would encourage you to pick up a copy. Though I believe the book is helpful for any entrepreneur with any size business, I do believe that is speaks most to small businesses, which I personally have a heart for as a small business owner of Sharp Innovations, Inc. and life/business coach with Live with Purpose Coaching.


  • The business world is littered with dead documents that do nothing but waste people’s time. Report no one reads, diagrams no one looks at (pg.97).
  • Do everything you can to remove layers of abstraction (pg. 97).
  • You’ll find you’re solving an imaginary problem. That’s when it’s time to stop (pg. 100).
  • What could you be doing instead?
    • This is especially important for small teams with constrained resources (pg 101).
  • Alone zone. Decree that from 10a.m. to 2p.m., people can’t talk to each other (except during lunch) (pg. 105).
  • If you decide you absolutely must get together, try to make your meeting a productive one by sticking to these simple rules:
    • Always have a clear agenda
    • Begin with a specific problem
    • Meet at the site of the problem instead of a conference room. Point to real things and suggest real changes.
    • End with a solution and make someone responsible for implementing it (pg. 109, 110).
  • When good enough gets the job done, go for it. Its way better than wasting resources or, even worse, doing nothing because you can’t afford the complex solution. And remember, you can usually turn good enough into great later (pg. 113).
  • If you absolutely have to work on long-term projects, try to dedicate one day a week (or every two weeks) to small victories that generate enthusiasm (pg. 115).
  • People automatically associate quitting with failure, but sometimes that’s exactly what you should do. If you already spent too much time on something that wasn’t worth it, walk away. You can’t get that time back. The worst thing you can do now is waste even more time (pg. 119).
  • When you’re tired, you lose motivation to attack the big problems (pg. 122).
  • Once ego and pride are on the line, you can’t change your mind without looking bad. The desire to save face trumps the desire to make the right call (pg. 130).


  • The problem with this sort of copying is it skips understanding – and understanding is how you grow (pg. 135).
  • Plus, if you’re a copycat, you can never keep up. You’re always in a passive position. You never lead; you always follow (pg. 136).
  • Solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to the competition (pg. 144).
  • When you spend time worrying about someone else, you can’t spend that time improving yourself.  Focus on competitors too much and you wind up diluting your own vision (pg. 148).


  • Use the power of no to get your priorities straight. You rarely regret saying no. But you often wind up regretting saying yes (pg. 153).
  • It’s better to have people be happy using someone else’s product than disgruntled using yours (pg. 154).
  • Companies need to be true to a type of customer more than a specific individual customer with changing needs (pg. 157).
  • The enthusiasm you have for a new idea is not an accurate indicator of its true worth (pg. 159).
  • Smart companies make the opposite: something that’s at-home good. When you get the product home, you’re actually more impressed with it than you were at the store. You live with it and grow to like it more and more. And you tell your friends, too (pg. 161).


  • So build an audience. Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos – whatever. Share information that’s valuable and you’ll slowly but surely build a loyal audience (pg. 171).
  • Teach and you’ll form a bond you just don’t get from traditional marketing tactics. Buying people’s attention with a magazine or online banner ad is one thing. Earning their loyalty by teaching them forms a whole different connection. They’ll trust you more (pg. 173).
  • As a business owner, you should share everything you know too. This is anathema to most in the business world. Businesses are usually paranoid and secretive (pg. 176).
  • Letting people behind the curtain changes your relationship with them. They’ll feel a bond with you and see you as human beings instead of a faceless company (pg. 180).
  • Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Imperfections are real and people respond to real (pg. 182).
  • So talk like you really talk. Reveal things that others are unwilling to discuss (pg. 183).
  • Get picked up by a niche blogger
    • That’s why many big-time reporters now use these smaller sites to find new stories (pg. 188).
  • Don’t be afraid to give a little away for free – as long as you’ve got something else to sell (pg. 191).
  • Marketing isn’t just a few individual events. It’s the sum total of everything you do (pg. 193,194).
  • Trade the dream of overnight success for slow, measured growth (pg. 196).

So what within your business should you consider REWORKING?

In the next and final REWORK post, I will explore hiring, damage control and company culture. If you have any questions about any of these insights or how to adapt them to your world, feel free to contact me or the authors.

I help my coaching clients focus on important life lessons like these so they can achieve better balance both personally and professionally. If you’d like to find out more about my life coaching company, Live With Purpose Coaching, feel free to contact me at (717)798-3596.Visit for more resources.

God Bless,


* feel free to contact me personally with any questions or comments.


Fried, Jason and David Heinemeir Hanson. Rework. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2010. Print.