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Simplify: How the Best Businesses in the World Succeed Hardcover – October 11, 2016
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Susan Kruger, M.Ed., CEO of SOAR Learning, Inc. and author of SOAR Learning & Soft Skills for College & Career Success
There are few books and even fewer concepts that can truly revolutionize a business, a product, and an industry. The concept of positioning a company or its products in such a way that will forever change the landscape of business is here. Richard Koch’s Simplify is that book. It is strategy on steroids, with a twist. Simplify guides you through the process of what so many have attempted to do and yet only so few have ever achieved. Now with this book as your guide, you too can achieve extraordinary results and positioning in the market place you serve. Don’t read this book, study it and then master it!
George Contos, CEO of World Wide Metric and author of Growing Up Metric
Several key executives from our company attended the Star Principle Seminar in Chicago and it truly changed our business. Above all else, we left with a renewed focus that clearly showed us the path to creating a Star Business. By applying the 80/20 Principle to both our marketing efforts and product lines, we simplified the business and we are now seeing huge growth from considerably less work. Richard Koch and Perry Marshall really get the math’ in a way few others do!
David Jellins, CEO of Adrenaline, Inc.
Whether fast food, furniture, or Ford, only Richard Koch could take the timeless ideas from history’s greatest companies and simplify” them so well that any entrepreneur young or old could grasp them easily. As soon as we put the book down, we instantly began coaching our team on the Simplify ideas, and they took off within days. Even a co-ed kickball league can learn from the greats like Google, Ikea and McDonald's through Richard’s words. One can only wonder how many great new companies like Slack, Stripe, and Square are proving themselves ahead of their time by tapping into these grand ideas on proposition simplification.
Shawn D. Madden, Founder and ambassador of Fun Underdog Sports Leagues
If you are in any doubt about the value of simplifying your business, read this book. We all know it takes time and effort to do it, but in Simplify you will find more than enough examples of what companies have done and the benefits to them (with all the facts and figures to back it up) to be convincing. Every time I dip into it, I realize there is more that I can and must do, I was working on simplifying our offering based on the information you will find here just yesterday and I'm doing more on it today. One excellent feature of the book that I love is that there are handy summaries of all the key points so you can find the information you want really quickly whenever you need it. This book is provides you with the tools and the inspiration to simplify your business and so become more successful quickly.
Nancy Slessenge, Founder and CEO Vinehouse
This book opened my eyes to the powerful idea of simplicity. My small business has doubled over the last year by applying the principles it teaches. Richard's genius is observing the principle, distilling it down to its simplest components, and communicating it simply.
Damon Janis, Do-founder Dentma
When the modern-day Godfather of 80/20 speaks, we should all pause to listen. In Simplify, Richard Koch reveals the formula followed by history's most successful businesses - from Ford and Wal-Mart, to Amazon and Uber - to transform industries and sell billions. What industry will you revolutionize?
Tim Francis, Founder of ProfitFactory.com and NYU Guest Lecturer
From the Inside Flap
Over the last 40 years Richard Koch has worked to uncover the simple principles and strategies behind every successful business. With the help of venture capitalist Greg Lockwood and supported by research from OC&C Strategy Consultants, Koch has uncovered the one uniting principle behind successful companies such as IKEA, the Boston Consulting Group, Honda, and Uber: Simplify.
Taking the principle one step further, Koch has identified that companies will either be price simplifiersconsider flying a budget airline stripped of all the extras that still takes you from point A to point Bor proposition simplifierssuch as Apple with their easy-to-use products for a large market willing to pay a premium.
In this book, Koch and Lockwood dissect case studies to share the secrets behind the great simplifiers of business. You’ll learn how to:
Decide which simplifying strategy is the best option for your business
Model your business as a price or proposition simplifier
Make your products and services more useful and better looking
Spike demands and create markets that didn’t exist before
Redesign your business process and transform your industry in nine steps
Implement the three fundamental principles to sparking a price revolution
Are you ready to become the next market leader? Start simplifying today.
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What makes this book valuable is that it focuses directly on sustainable economic growth. The authors have identified two types of growth that flow from the exercise of simplification: proposition-simplification and price-simplification. These two methods of growing the company are fundamentally different and the decision to pursue one form of simplification over another must be made on reliable grounds.
The decision must take cognizance of the culture of the company and its appetite and ability to pursue one type of simplification over the other. Further, the nature of both the company’s offering and the nature of the market will affect the decision-making process.
I will describe how the two types of simplification unfold through the descriptions of some of the well-known businesses used in the book as examples.
The sole objective of price-simplification is to slash the costs of the product or service to the consumer.
Henry Ford achieved price-simplification by reducing the variety of cars his company initially offered down to one, and in only one colour –black. The very design of the car was aimed at giving people what they needed and nothing more – a way to move faster than on horseback. Ford worked constantly on redesigning his factories so that more cars could be produced ever more cheaply. The company’s success was directly correlated to the constantly dropping selling price.
IKEA, the mass retailer of affordable, attractive furniture, redesigned their products so that they could be flat-packed, saving the company transport and storage costs. This price-simplification model also involved co-opting customers into the sales process to further reduce costs. Not only are there no salespeople for you to discuss your decorating needs with, you select the furniture yourself, but you even take it home yourself in a flat-pack. Then, you assemble the furniture from their remarkably clear instructions.
McDonald’s reduced the price of their burgers by reducing variety, and automating processes wherever possible. They also speeded up the delivery of the food, so allowing for a faster flow-through of customers, and eliminated the cost of waiters. Customers essentially serve themselves.
Honda entered the American market by reducing the power of the motor-cycles they offered, and scaling down their offering to the larger segment of small motor-cycle users. Honda also lowered their costs of labour, their most expensive component, through efficiencies of production and management.
Proposition-simplification differs from price-simplification with its focus on making the product or service a joy to use. The price is not a factor and many who are proposition-simplifiers are more expensive than their competitors. This category benefits from people’s willingness to pay more, if that is what it takes to own something that is easier to use, or more useful or more aesthetically pleasing.
Apple Macintosh effectively created the high-end customer segment by manufacturing products that were more intuitive for the user, more user-friendly and more beautiful.
Uber has made the experience of using a taxi quicker through the software that hails the drivers closest to you. The newer cars required for use by Uber drivers are expected to be more reliable, comfortable, and the whole experience is often cheaper than conventional taxis. This combination of the speed of getting a ride and the convenience of not having to pay cash, are among many features that have made Uber hugely successful, and an extremely valuable company.
The computer scientists at Xerox PARC invented the modern PC, the mouse and much, much more. However, they failed to capitalize on their inventions partially because they never focused on process simplification. “They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory because they liked complexity more than they liked simplicity,” the authors explain.
Process-simplification and the monetization of these technological innovations were left to the late, great Steve Jobs. He brought Apple back to profitability by focusing on just two models of the Mac and producing the easiest-to-use, most fun personal computer on the market.
Then came the iPod, another extraordinary example of proposition-simplification. Existing MP3 players were “horrible, absolutely horrible.” They were difficult to use and held about sixteen songs. Jobs and the team devised a far simpler player that had a drive that would hold a thousand songs, with a FireWire connection to sync the thousand songs in under ten minutes, and a battery that would last through a thousand songs.
Apple is a prime example of a proposition-simplifier.
What tactics your context requires to use the principle of simplification, will be completely unique. The value of this book is the awareness of the power of simplification, and the guidance it offers to the process: the rest is up to you.
Readability Light -+-- Serious
Insights High --+-- Low
Practical High +---- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of the soon to be released ‘Executive Update’.
The steps are deceptively simple. The key? Knowing what questions to ask. That is what this book teaches.
Look beyond the 'hindsight' mentality to the principles taught; those are the timeless essence this book reveals and presents.
Is this of any value? Only if one incorporates the principles & questions to identify the opportunities ever unfolding in our highly complex & inter-dependent economy.
A must-read and highly recommended !
Now this book was the first book who really explained why some events happens in the business world. Even i am many years in busines, the book was an eye opener and today we start reviewing our company with this book in mimd.