In Idea to Execution, a true story about two friends who founded a company with no cash investment overnight and built it up over the following year, we discover the hardships entrepreneurs face when launching a new business.
From creating a business plan to putting tools in place that optimize your company’s performance, this book shows you the way to success.
You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book review will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.
At the end of this book review, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Lesson 1: Avoid letting negative feedback fester; use creative problem-solving techniques
It’s not always easy to hear negative feedback when you’re nurturing a project that you consider your “baby.” It is critical to act quickly to address any issues before they cause your company to fail.
In January 2016, Less Doing was thriving, but some customers complained about the onboarding process.
When Ari and Nick realized they were losing clients as a result, they set out to improve the company. One of the tools they used was the 5 Whys method.
Begin by defining the issue and determining why it exists. Find the answer, then ask “Why?” again. Continue to probe until you reach a satisfying conclusion. By the end, you’ve discovered the source of the problem.
Ari and Nick realized they needed to simplify their software interface and provide better instructions for clients to use it as a result of this method. Once tweaked, the client onboarding process was seamless.
To avoid future client complaints, the entrepreneurs decided to use another tool known as the Kaizen method to encourage employees to think proactively.
Japanese companies such as Toyota and Mitsubishi pioneered this method. Kaizen translates to “change for the better.”
The Kaizen method asks everyone in a company, from cleaners to C-level executives, for feedback on how the company can improve based on personal experience.
This meant asking each virtual assistant to submit one idea per week on how to improve the company’s processes or methods to Less Doing.
Ari and Nick were immediately presented with a problem that had a simple solution. They discovered that some virtual assistants were unsure of how to charge clients properly. It turns out that assistants had been doing extra administrative work for free, which caused some frustration.
The Kaizen method elevated this issue to the point where it could be addressed, appropriately meeting the needs of both clients and assistants.
Lesson 2: Once you have a successful strategy figured out, you can share it with others
When your business is successful, you will have acquired a wide range of skills and knowledge. You can supplement your income by teaching other entrepreneurs what you’ve learned along the way.
Less Doing advertised a business boot camp on Facebook in order to assess the viability of training as a new offering.
The presentation was well received by the 20 attendees. However, feedback after the event revealed that the authors had gone on too strong, overloading the audience with technical terms and demonstrations.
Despite what appeared to be a setback, Ari and Nick learned a lot from the experience. Organizing live events was one of the company’s biggest time commitments, and it wasn’t the best way to share information.
As your company grows, you must be adaptable and willing to change course.
Nick and Ari did not abandon their teaching endeavor; rather, they restructured it. Because it moved all of its operations online, it eventually became a sustainable part of the business.
Lesson 3: Keeping clients engaged is the key to optimizing a company’s processes
Entrepreneurs must always consider how they can delegate or even outsource tasks in order to build a successful business.
While most managers strive to keep a firm grip on their companies as they expand, it is sometimes necessary to take a step back and let go.
Ari was in charge of the dashboard at Less Doing, ensuring that assistants completed their tasks on time and that clients were satisfied with the company’s services.
The task was eventually assigned to a virtual assistant, who was so effective that she was promoted to general manager just two weeks after taking over.
Ari and Nick hired another virtual assistant to handle the company’s financial and payroll needs. Her title was quickly changed to financial director at Less Doing.
Ari and Nick benefited from each of these situations because they now had more time to devote to improving other aspects of the business.
The situation could have been much better! To be successful, a company must ensure that its customers are truly engaged with its product.
Clients were still hesitant to fully commit to Less Doing. In some cases, clients performed tasks that their virtual assistant could have handled.
To increase client involvement, the authors enlisted the help of bestselling author and behavioral psychologist Nir Eyal. To ensure that new clients were hooked on Less Doing, they needed to devote more time and effort to the onboarding process.
As a result, the company’s strategy was altered. It was suggested that virtual assistants spend at least an hour coaching new clients on how to use Less Doing software to best meet their professional and personal needs.
Clients will learn about the services offered by Less Doing during this process, allowing them to make better use of their time and commit to relying on more virtual assistance.
Lesson 4: Invest in your company after you have solid structures in place
Once you’ve defined the processes that keep your business running, it’s time to start looking at your performance numbers.
Ari and Nick realized that the next step for their company would be to reduce its “churn rate.” The churn rate is the percentage of customers who leave a company’s services or products within a specific time period, such as three months.
Less Doing used ChartMogul to track how long customers used its services. It soon became clear that clients who used the service less than once every few weeks were the ones who dropped it.
Based on this knowledge, Ari and Nick were able to establish a best practice. Less Doing personally contacted clients who had been inactive for two weeks in order to address any issues and avoid losing their business.
Even if it appears time-consuming, investing in your company is always preferable to losing clients due to inaction.
Of course, motivation to go the extra mile isn’t always easy to come by. It can also be discouraging to realize that, despite your efforts, you are still investing a significant amount of time and money in your business.
If you want your business to grow, investing is the only way to do so.
By mid-2016, Ari and Nick were still hard at work improving the company. Ari spent dozens of hours speaking with inactive clients in order to reduce the company’s churn rate from 11% to 3%.
The dashboard has been automated in several areas to assist the team in reducing menial tasks. The company also increased its Facebook presence and personalized its newsletter.
At this point, the founders decided it was time to share equity with key players in Less Doing.
Less Doing’s first month of 2016 was its most profitable yet, bringing in $100,000. An organization that began as a dinnertime dream is doing quite well!
About the Author
Ari Meisel, a real estate developer, was diagnosed with the disease, which renders him unable to work, in 2006. He needed to find a new way to get things done, so he describes the Less Doing system of productivity in his book Less Doing, More Living.
Sonnenberg worked as a high-frequency trader on Wall Street for eight years before launching his own company. CalvinApp connects people to make plans or exchange ideas. He and Ari Meisel cofounded Less Doing.
Buy The Book: Idea to Execution
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