As businesses grow over time, all too often they become more complex. These complexities can detract focus from a business’s primary mission and core activities.
By mastering simplicity, businesses can stay focused on their defined goals and eliminate processes that distract, add clutter and have no added value.
What is Simplicity?
Simplicity can sometimes be thought of in a negative sense in that if a business model and its processes are too simple, it can not grow. In fact, it is often the complete opposite. A business that is simpler to operate is more attractive and can scale faster; after all, there is less to manage.
“Cutting out unnecessary processes should be part of every business’s growth strategy.”
Simplicity means sticking to streamlined processes that are well-designed and regularly maintained. Embracing simplicity into the entire organisation’s culture ensures that time and energy is not wasted on anything other than developing and improving the business.
Why Do Businesses Become So Complex?
Over time, complexity unconsciously creeps into business processes. One sign is when it takes longer to make decisions because the information has to be reviewed and sent through a host of individuals with unclear or overlapping roles. Another example is when team members are required to adopt an ever-increasing myriad of tools and procedures, which require training. Inefficiencies become inevitable as your team tries to navigate work with a mix of rules and systems.
Ultimately, complexity causes confusion and stress with teams and customers. Complexity leads to employees making up other own processes to the detriment of the business and customers will go elsewhere if the products or services are too complex to understand and use.
“Customers will go elsewhere if the products or services are too complex to understand and use.”
Three Ways To Simplify Your Business
On the show Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsey visits a failing restaurant and acts as a troubleshooter to help improve the establishment in just one week. What is one of the first things that Gordon Ramsey does when he sets about turning the business around?
Answer: He reduces the items on the menu.
If there are so many dishes on the menu, this is what often happens:
- The diner can’t decide, feels overwhelmed and goes somewhere else
- The wait staff have to learn so too many dishes and can’t remember all of them
- The chefs have to sacrifice quality over quantity in the kitchen
- The restaurant is not known for its signature dishes as there are just too many
- The cost of supplies and produce increased to handle the number of ingredients required
- The cost of training increases due to the amount of time to learn every dish
What Gordon does is get the business to focus on getting a small number of dishes right instead of a lot of dishes wrong. A business will have more success being known for one thing that makes them stand out.
“Keeping it simple always wins out over complexity.”
To embody simplicity, it is critical to identify what obstacles are holding the business back and identify simple and better processes that address the barriers and support goals.
Once solutions to simplify operations are in place, you can free up additional resources, allowing teams to focus on achieving the goals of the business.
It comes down to getting rid of unnecessary complexity and removing barriers to progress. The less you have to do, the simpler it becomes.
“The less you have to do, the simpler it becomes.”
Here is a list of just some things you could think about reducing:
- The number of products and services you offer
- The time it takes to do something
- The expenses in the business
- The number of pricing options
- The number of marketing platforms you post on
- The activities of the key team members and business owner
- The number of interactions/steps in a process
- The number of decisions and approvals
- The number of tools/software used
By reducing the number of things that we do, we also reduce time and create space. Everyone wants to reduce time, right? The more simple a process is to work through, the less time and energy it will take to do.
Put yourself in your customer shoes; think about how long it takes them to complete your application. How long do they have to wait for a response? How easy is it for them to read your terms and conditions? Create materials that are quick and easy to read and use.
“Subtract the unnecessary and add the meaningful.”
Organising is about order, logic and efficiency. Things that are easier to find saves time – that in itself makes it simpler.
Things you can organise:
- Website so it flows and visitors can find what they want quickly
- Files on your computer/server/cloud platform
- Process names for easier search
- Operating system
- Task/Time – batch activities
- Position descriptions – making KPI’s clear
- Customer-facing and internal documentation
Focus on fewer goals and projects. We’ve all been guilty at some point of putting way too many items on our to-do list, usually in no specific order of priority. Our default reaction most times is to do nothing or do the few things that we feel are easy to tick off but at the peril of our most impactful tasks that could move us closer to achieving our goal.
You have probably heard it before, only list up to three items on your daily to-do list, if you achieve more then that’s a bonus. Three is better than none.
If you have a strategic plan for our business over the next one to three years, break it down into quarterly and monthly milestones. That way, you are focusing on what you can get done in that space of time and resist being distracted by anything that isn’t moving you closer to your goals. Having fewer things to do will allow you and your teams to focus on what’s important.
Developing the mindset of simplicity and taking action to implement on simplicity requires awareness and attention. Simplicity is something to always strive for, for our own lives, for our team members and our customers.
Simplicity leads to success. Its that simple.
“Simplicity leads to success.”
Simplifying your business, defining your core processes and documenting them will free you up to grow your business and help your business to run more efficiently. If this is your end goal then book in a time to chat with us, we help business owners just like you to design a business that works with or without you.