Notes

We’ve known principles for a long time basically, but the biggest change we’ve had is insisting on doing it in a way we know will actually work.

Because we’ve been brought in again and again by small businesses who wanted us to do based on what some guru said, or what Squarespace said, or GoDaddy. Chris rails against dumb website ads and providers that steer clients in the wrong direction. The exact fundamental misconception. “They are really empowering the misconception, because they make money off of it.”

How the website industry (Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix, Themeforest, etc.) trains small businesses to fail.

Why you first need a business with a soul, to put the website into. They don’t know how to ensoul their business… it’s actually a lot of work. Doing good work is the key, not doing no work…

Why don’t website designers, et al, who obviously see these patterns again and again, ever bother to mention them?

In the past, we’ve all tried to RESPOND to what the client said they needed. But they don’t have the mental models to understand the domain well enough to be person who should be directing that level of decisions. They should have the level, “I have a business, I want more clients. I want more business. Or hopefully, I want more satisfying business, I want more impactful business…”.

But they think in terms of, “my brother-in-law told me I need SEO…. Can you SEO my site? My brother-in-law knows web, and he wants someone to SEO the site.” Know you’re already lost in the weeds.


The design of the business is a very deliberate process separate from your automatic reactions, your initial instincts sometimes. There’s observation and planning. The design of the burins benefits from all this experience. The REACTIVE business is one — plumbing supply company same as marketing company. Everyone’s running at you and you take the first people that come through the door. And then you run around, trying to help them as best you can, you’re an utter victim to their lack of understanding.

Let’s just say (I’m making this up), that copper pipe is much better than plastic over time. But it has a longer payoff time, etc. Everyone’s running through the door and you don’t even realize that there’s a market of people who’d be happy to buy the copper pipe, if only you had the time to explain to them, why it was better. So then you are a reactive business.

And if you are a deliberate business, you decide who you want the clients to be. You decide how you want to help them, because you are the expert in the area; you should set the frame, for what is useful. Of course you need to understand them, but you set the frame for what is useful, you’re not a victim to their frame. Because then everyone’s taken down to the bottom.

You, as the designer(s) of the business have to maintain a separation from it. Which is all the more challenging, the more it’s personal, and the more it’s only you. Not to get pulled back into the morass of demands from possible clients who could throw you off the course of what your real charter as a business, is. All the more challenging if it’s just you, even more so.

Write down, get down and codify your precepts, beliefs, assumptions, and structures. So that set of documents lives outside of you, and codifies the agreements (between businesses partners, or just, even, with yourself).

If there are other things you like to do, you could provide some other services through that other business (example, an SEO service business, or a web design business).


We are modeling what it means to be a deliberate business.

E3 wants to serve businesses who have a bigger view than just maximizing profit—a deeper view. Creating value for themselves, their families, communities, and customers.

We will find a continuum of who we serve, from those who like this idea but haven’t given it a ton of thought, to those who have done a lot of work on it. But in any event, E3 will provide value in helping to focus it more (and more in terms of results).

That is the Fit process.

What’s your “Why”?

It’s a lot about throwing things away.

The big thing that we’ve done differently… the biggest thing, is to have the courage to stand up and say, “We won’t do it the old way anymore, because it’s dumb. It’s just dumb. And we’re not doing it. And, we will do our very best job to explain why, and to educate people about a better way, and then the people who believe in the better way, will come and follow us—period. That’s it.”