Monday, May 8, 2017

4 Thoughts on Simplicity



1. Results are inverse to team size. Remember the "2 Pizza Rule": you should be able to feed your whole team with only 2 pizzas.


2. Smaller scoped projects are more successful, so "bite off less than you can chew".


3. Some bureaucratic processes are necessary, but they must be in the background.


4. Be paranoid about creeping complexity.  Weed regularly.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Focused on Falafel: How Naf Naf Grill Simplified Before Expanding


For Small Business Week, the 5/1/17 issue of Crain's Chicago Business had an article on lessons learned from some of the most successful businesses in Chicago.

One of them was Naf Naf Grill, a Chicago-based chain of Middle Eastern fast-casual dining.

Their lesson was on the importance of simplicity and focus, especially before expansion. They got rid of 80% of their menu before scaling from 2 restaurants, up to the current 29 locations.

The Crain's article quoted co-founder David Sloan, "You think it's simple, but you need to work to make it even more so. Because if you're going to grow quickly, the more absolutely simple you make your operations, the better off you'll be."

LESSON: Once you reach the level where your business is adequately servicing your existing client base, and you are ready to scale up (eg. through franchising, expansion, partnerships, major ad campaign, etc.), it is vital to first simplify your business.

There are four areas of strategic simplicity that need attention: market simplicity (what exactly do we sell?), decision simplicity (how easy is it for potential customers to know us and trust us?), user simplicity (how easy and streamlined is the customer experience?), and operating simplicity (have we cleaned up and streamlined our internal processes?).

I work with my clients in all four of these strategic simplicity areas.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Fidget Spinners - The Next Pet Rock?


As a parent of a kindergardener and a jr. high school student, combined with my consulting skills of observation, I'm getting a view into the latest thinking of the next generations.

One of the interesting things I'm seeing is the explosion in popularity of fidget spinners. I think they are going to be a fad like Cabbage Patch Kids, Furby, or Pet Rocks.  Build big and then fade.

1. First, my older son and his friends were making them out of Legos.  

2. Then they wanted to buy them from Amazon and pay expedited shipping.  They even wanted to buy extras to sell to their classmates for profit.

3. Suddenly, they learned that 7-11 started keeping them behind the counter.  They sold out fast.

4. The Jr. high principal sent an email saying that fidget spinners were being banned from school because the kids were distracted, trading them, etc.

5. Now, I'm seeing newspaper columns about them.

6. Finally, I looked up fidget spinners on Google Trends.  Searches for them exploded, starting in April:




Considering that fidget spinners were originally created to calm ADHD kids, what does that indicate for future attention spans?




Monday, May 1, 2017