reflections on simplicity and success

happy new year everyone! we've been off the radar screen for many months creating a lot of exciting change for 2012, and our core theme is "simplicity." as i was listing my goals for the new year recently, my thoughts meandered to martin luther king (we honor him on monday). and this juxtaposition led to my thoughts for this 1st newsletter of the new year.

reflecting on dr. king's accomplishments, i started working backwards -- i wanted to imagine what his list of New Year's resolutions might have looked like. here's what i came up with ::

  1. give great speeches so people will think differently
  2. confront great injustices so people will act differently
  3. repeat as needed to change society
  4. achieve equality

ironically, psychologists claim a big reason most of us flop at maintaining new year's resolutions is because we fail to make them realistic. business gurus say the same thing. sure, being realistic is important. in the context of the times in which he lived, however, many would have said dr. king's goals were not realistic. yet he succeeded. i'm convinced failure is driven more by a lack of simplicity than by a lack of "reality."

why simplicity is key

consider my imaginary resolutions for dr. king. their simplicity articulates their essence. their simplicity fully examines and understands all their complexity, yet is itself uncomplicated. their simplicity orients us to what needs to be done. there's a tremendous amount of complexity wrapped up in a just this little bit of simplicity. once we have simplicity, however, things become easy. and so we succeed.

it's taken years to recognize, but i now realize main street ventures solves the same, big problem for every customer (be they start-ups or established businesses) -- the dire need for simplicity. naturally, our customers don't see it this way... they define their problems in other ways. those who ultimately work with us come to "get it." and they succeed.

which brings me to ZEN

at the end of 2010, this company launched the ZENBungalow. having recognized simplicity has always been our key to creating success, this became our first brand extension clearly driven by the core values of simplicity, clarity, focus and collaboration. though most perceived the bungalow as a "place," it's really an accelerator. we liken it to throwing gasoline on a fire.

this month main street ventures launches two pilot programs driven by these same core values -- ZENCubate and ZENLegal. we're in the process of pushing information out about each on our new website. my professional resolutions for these programs may not be quite as lofty as dr. king's, but they are ambitious ::

  • create communities of like-minded business owners ready to think differently
  • create strategic collaboration among independent businesses so their owners start to act differently
  • repeat as necessary and radically change the success rate for small business

i look forward to sharing more in the days ahead -- especially how simplicity can bring value to small businesses everywhere, including yours.

jack speranza is ceo and founder of main street ventures and passionate about building profitable, independent businesses.

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