Imagine if you could wake up in the morning and know from the outset that you wouldn’t face any disasters or crises in your business. It sounds like an impossibility, right?
Well, not so fast. It turns out that you can deal with most issues by finding simplifying practices that work in your enterprise.
Ancient Doaist sage, Lao Tzu, would agree. The common man, he says, is always rushing about trying to get things done, adding things to his to-do list. But the wise man, he continues, engages in a practice of daily diminishing. He simplifies, yet accomplishes everything.
In this post, we take a look at some simplifying practices you can engage in that will transform how it feels to work on your business. Check them out below.
Reduce The Size Of Your Personal Life
Having an active and varied personal life might feel essential. After all, if you’re the sort of person who wants to build a business empire, you’re also probably somebody who likes the idea of socializing.
However, your personal life can often get in the way of your business. If you’re juggling multiple relationships and difficult situations outside of work, it’ll make your job feel considerably harder than it actually is.
Where you can, try to reduce the stresses and strains that you face outside of work. Keep your love life simple. Schedule time for your family if you have one. Look for people outside of work whose energy supports yours and doesn’t work against it.
Only Do The Things That Matter
While going to an industry conference with your team on the other side of the world might seem like a major priority for you, it can also interrupt your business schedule. You have to do so much planning to make it work that it rarely pays off in the end.
The same goes for other tasks. Building a social media account for your business, for instance, might seem like the most important thing in the world (particularly if marketing pros convince you it is), but does it really make a difference? For most businesses, the answer is a resounding “no.”
Only do the things that matter. Start by setting a specific goal in your mind. Then allow your brain to naturally figure out how to get there in the fewest possible steps.
Don’t set a general goal, such as “make more money.” Instead, narrow it down to something that generates genuine accountability, such as “make $100k revenues per month” or “expand to 20 locations.”
Don’t Be So Nice
Being nice is a massive time-waster in business. Instead, just get straight to the point and don’t allow anything to get in your way. Beating around the bush only wastes time and creates delays.
If you notice poor practices in your organisation, speak up. Challenge senior people who aren’t pulling their weight, and make it clear that employees need to adhere to company standards at all times. Regular reminders prevent standards from slipping.
Don’t Add More Layers Of Management
Companies can get into the habit of adding more layers of management over time. They have senior managers, middle managers and entry-level managers, all essentially doing the same jobs.
To prevent this, reduce levels and increase span. Give managers more real responsibility and make sure that each has a team. Get them to report to you directly, instead of some intermediary. Eliminate senior managers wherever possible or redirect them to different duties. Empower low level employees to make more decisions by themselves.
Keep Complexity At Bay
Modern businesses are fabulously complex. They sell multiple products in various geographies using different price structures and processes. Trying to organize the whole enterprise is often a nightmare.
To address this, make sure that you keep complexity at bay. If necessary, split your company up into discrete, smaller entities that each deal with a specific solution. Avoid running the whole thing as one vast conglomerate, except for accounting purposes.
Apply Technology To Your Processes
Leaders often view technology as a complexity-adding process, but it is actually highly simplifying. Employee scheduling software, for instance, can take the hassle out of entering hours worked into a timesheet. Marketing automation can reduce the time you spend posting and communicating online. And CRMs in the cloud give your whole team an overview of where customers are in the buying cycle.
Technology is the main reason why some companies are more productive than others. They’ve figured out how to leverage it to get higher productivity out of each employee. Yes, they hire talented people, but that’s not the true source of their success.
Find Out What Your Customers Really Want
Sometimes, your business is overly-complicated because you don’t really understand what your customers want. You might believe that they are demanding one type of product, whereas, in reality, they want quite another.
To find out what your customers really want, go back to the drawing board. Ask yourself whether you need to provide a dozen different types of service when just three will suffice.
Validate all of your lines externally. If any of them are redundant and not serving you, eliminate them. Don’t allow them to build up, just because internal review meetings concluded that you needed them. In most cases, you don’t.
Maintain Team Focus
Companies like Google made it trendy to work on side projects. And for highly innovative firms sitting on giant mountains of cash, such strategies make sense. However, for small businesses and startups looking to carve out a niche, lack of concerted direction doesn’t make a lot of sense. Teams working on multiple side projects rarely get anything done.
To maintain team focus, ensure that everyone concentrates on the core objectives of the firm in some way. Don’t allow meetings to come up with hair-brained ideas that sound good but require resources. Instead, double down on your core activity until it becomes highly profitable. Then look for opportunities elsewhere, if they exist.
Clear Out Inefficient Bureaucracies
Bureaucracies can make organizations inefficient. Vested interests begin to build up, and quality falls.
Check whether your organization is suffering from bureaucracy. Find out how many layers of management are required to sign off on spending, for instance. Simplify the process by giving people you trust more power. Review their decisions with them annually or quarterly to provide final oversight.
Get Other People To Do The Hard Stuff For You
Business leaders often imagine that they personally need to take care of all the challenging things in their organizations. But when you look at the best leaders, they always hand these tasks over to people who are genuinely competent in them.
What’s more, they don’t limit themselves to resources within the company. In many cases, they outsource tasks that they don’t want to do. For instance, prototyping products is a complex process. Most firms don’t have the required facilities on their premises. Instead, therefore, they pass these tasks on to other companies who do them better and cheaper.
Simplifying your business isn’t just about trying to become more profitable. It’s also about making your life better as well. Once you get a handle on the issues we’ve discussed here, it makes going to work more enjoyable. You get to focus more on the things that really matter to you and don’t have to spend as much time worrying about the things that don’t. The more that you can leverage the skills and time of other people, the better off you’ll be.