Focus on Simplicity

17 Nov

I love this post on the 37 Signals blog: How Chipotle, Pinkberry and others win big by doing just a few things well

Obviously the theory behind simplicity and focusing on doing a few things well is what 37 Signals is all about, making it easy for them to endorse this idea. BUT Matt, who writes the post is right.  Too often products and services get lost because the people designing them try to do too much.  Instead of just launching something simple and focused, they need whatever they are doing to encompass “the perfect” or the “ideal” product or service. I see this all the time when I listen to new businesses pitching ideas.  Too many times I hear companies talk about how they can’t release their product because it needs X number of bells and whistles. People get caught up in the design and development and want to tweak and perfect before going out in the marketplace. The reality is that you would be a lot better off starting simply, and getting something out quickly. You can then get feedback and information from the market and your customers, before adjusting and changing the product.

My advice – think simple, launch small, and then as you get traction and revenue, you can think bigger and expand.  Don’t get paralyzed into inaction by trying to perfect your product before you get it out there. Focus on simple things that meet real pain points and needs, and elaborate as your customers want and need more. And always think before you add more. Is it worth the resources? Does it clutter the solution or your message? It it core to your business?


4 Responses to “Focus on Simplicity”

  1. Clara James December 23, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    Nice post! The way you have described the basic things about business are excellent. I personally think that first of all we should focus on small and simple thing, if we get response then we should introduce large things. As has done, they first introduce small things they have when they get desire response from market then they introduce their larger things.

  2. Kate DuBois January 10, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Sabrina, I agree. Executing with simplicity and not getting caught in making things perfect is key to maintaining momentum and moving my business forward.

    Your comments about “think simple” and “think before you add more” reinforce another idea I ran across in a new book I just previewed, “Built to Sell” by John Warrilow. He has a 14-point plan to run your company with the end in mind – what he calls an options strategy, not just an exit strategy. I’d never considered that before, but I can already tell it will help me keep things simpler and run my business more efficiently.

    Thanks for the tips. Kate

  3. D Gunawardena August 27, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    Great blog post – I fully agree with the points here and at 37signals about keeping things simple to get things out the door. ‘Right-engineering’ rather than ‘over-engineering’ if I may coin a phrase.

    One thing that concerns me though is how sustainable is the competitive advantage of these simple product/service. Unless your technology is defensible (e.g. patents, copyright, other IPR etc.) then one might argue that a simple product is easy to imitate and as such the barriers to entry may be low. What I think would be interesting is looking at the next steps of a simple product, how do you grow the business. I take the point re. add features etc. based on valuable customer feedback – but has the idea genie been well and truly let out of the bottle by then? Plenty of companies out there that were second to the table that out played the initial innovator.


  1. The Blog Week in Review — 11/19/09 | Business in General - November 19, 2009

    […] Focus on Simplicity — Sabrina Parsons writes about starting small by focusing on your customers real pain points and needs. […]

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