Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Einstein’s observation is just as applicable to business models as it is to science. HBR has printed a wonderful article on the importance of simple value propositions. The authors argue successful companies build a simple and elegant solution to a painful customer need. The product, go-to-market strategy and almost every decision is defined by the singular focus on a problem/value proposition pair. Finding such a combination means discovering a scalable, repeatable business model.
Often, large enterprises fall prey to having too many focuses. Too many distinct products, messages and features that don’t align with the original value prop. As startups evolve, pivot and iterate, they too can lose focus on the original strategy particularly as the organization grows. Startups have two advantages: speed and focus. Founders should focus on playing to these strengths.
Now it’s much harder done than said. And it’s easy to be an armchair historian lecturing on the success of Apple and others. But the article is a good read and the principle is fundamental to success. I should believe it: it’s what I look for in our investments.