Entrepreneurial Strategies: The Easy Way (Think Process, Not Just Product)


Designers and other creative people will talk all day about making things easy. Products need to be easy to use, websites need to be easy to navigate, registration needs to be quick and painless. But "easy" is also a great strategy for entrepreneurs to pursue by applying it to various processes in business to create more value for consumers.

The business world has a lot of people that aren't very creative. That plus the law of corporate inertia, means that once things are done a certain way that way often continues indefinitely, even as new tools and technologies make it possible to change for the better. Entrepreneurs can exploit this by finding something that is a hassle and making it easier. By doing so, they can capture profits as a portion of the new value they created for the customer.

This type of business strategy has several advantages. First of all, you are usually going into a market where the core business model and industry economics are well understood. You should be able to find plenty of information about who the customers are, how quickly the market is growing, and what the existing players offer. The second advantage is that you don't have to explain the concept to consumers. You aren't trying to convince them to use something new and different, but simply to try the familiar in a different way. And finally, the inertia factor may cause your competition to drag their feet awhile before they copy your strategy.

Easy Group is a great example of this type of business model. Notice that their strategy states some key things – that they provide great value, keep things simple, serve the masses, make a difference in people's lives.

CarMax is another good example. They took a process that everyone hated – buying a car- and made it easy. No haggling, no keeping your keys for hours while they evaluate your trade, no high pressure sales tactics are involved. They sell cars the way most retail outlets operate.

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This model isn't limited to Joe Sixpack consumer though. You can make things easier for businesses too. Quickbooks created an online service for small businesses so that their accountants (who are typically a third party firm) could have easy access to their books. Lots of software and services are available to make various business processes easier for small and large companies.

There are still plenty of opportunities to do this. To find one, talk to people about what frustrates them, what they find difficult or confusing, and what products or services they dread. Look for industries with lots of mom and pop shops and a lack of industry standards. Examine your own workplace and figure out where your employer has to waste a lot of time and effort. Keep an eye out for multi-step processes that can be combined into one service to make it easy for the customer. Remember that easy is not about the product, it's about the experience. Keep the experience easy. Easy to sell, easy to return, easy to get help, easy to understand, easy to operate, easy to enroll, easy to pay, easy, easy, easy. Much new technology never gets adopted because it isn't easy to use for the average person.

You won't attract everyone with the easy strategy. Some people with picky tastes or high levels of expertise in an area will always want more choices or more control over their own experience. You will, though, get the people that want convenience and simplicity, and in a world that seems ever more distracting and complicated, that is worth a few extra bucks to most people.