The other day a commercial came on TV for a furniture-moving device. It was basically a simple machines (a lever and fulcrum) combined to make it easy to pick up the end of a piece of heavy furniture. Then, you could slip a plastic disk under the feet of the furniture and easily slide it across the room. While I have no idea if the device actually works, I was impressed with the back-to-basics simplicity of the idea.
What’s Simple in your Business or Industry?
Is there an area of your industry that others have made overly complex? Is it an area where a return to basics is actually a business or product opportunity? An example you say? Well how about 37signals’ Basecamp for project management. It’s really just organized to-do lists and attached conversation threads. No PERT and Gantt charts to understand. But you know what? It helps millions of people get more done each and every day.
More examples you say? Southwest Airlines’ no assigned seating. Just get the folks on the plane fast, and fly them where they are going for cheap. How about a cell phone with almost no physical buttons that basically prompts the use through anything they need to do? You know, the iPhone. It’s not a device you normally think of as simple, but that’s a big part of why they sell so many. It’s a very easy-to-use device.
In my own business, we’ve stripped a bunch of features out of our ProofPass.com product for a private label version of the service. It got me to wondering if we sometimes don’t over-complicate what could be simple. I first heard KISS – no not the rock band, but instead the Keep It Simple Stupid – principle in sales training decades ago.
In the context I learned about Keep It Simple Stupid, we were instructed to never confuse customers with too many choices. For example, if showing customers mattresses, we might have had 20 to pick from. You ended up being way more successful by showing them three and calling them, “good,” “better” and “best.” All this of course occurred after figuring out their approximate budget.
So, what are the ways you are going to Keep It Simple Stupid?