4 ways to simplify your business to thrive in times of crisis

02/09/2020

simplify your business

simplify your business

The simpler you make your business the better. A simple business means no wasted effort and resources. It’s a business that delivers the exact results to delight your customers and your team while giving you what you need and want. It also makes for a better, more elegant, profitable, and effortless business.

It’s not easy to do, especially in these times. On the one hand Covid-19 has added layers of complexity, and on the other people are realizing they want to focus only on what is important to them. It’s a serious challenge to navigate these new complexities while at the same time making it even simpler and easier for your people.

We complicate matters when we aren’t sure. We insert more to cover our bases. We talk more because we don’t know what is important. We add in steps ‘just in case’. We reach out to everyone with such a broad mandate that no one sees or hears us.

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”, says French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It takes time to make things simple. We have to get to the heart of what we want to accomplish, and work at it until it does only that and no more.

You’ve heard the saying, “I know that 50% of my advertising budget is wasted, I just don’t know which 50%.”  When you simplify your advertising, you can track the results much better. Do one thing. Track your results, test, refine, repeat until it is as simple as possible and gives you great results. Then move onto the next thing and repeat. You will always know that 100% of your advertising is effective.

The simpler things are, the more important it is to have the right pieces in place and to have them working well. Your challenge is to figure out what those pieces are.

Journeys aren’t just for customers

There are 3 people in your business: you (the owner), your team, and your customers. Each takes a journey through your business from attraction, engagement to delight. Spend your time making those journeys work.

It means being crystal clear on what you need and want so you can build your business to give you those things. I’ve met too many people who built businesses they ended up hating.

It means knowing exactly who you help the most and how to solve their problem in the way that delights them.

It means wanting the best for your team members and making it your job to give them what they need to do the work of delighting your customers. Your team members are having to juggle being at home and working. What can you do right now to help them?

Keep your business model simple

Your business model is how you create, capture and deliver value.

You simplify it by being clear on who you help, what their problem is, and delivering the best solution to solve that problem. You learn that by doing the work and analyzing the results. Talk to your customers and your team to find out what is important to them.

Make it easy for people to do business with you. They are looking for ways to make their lives less complicated, not more complicated. When they want what you offer, your job is to make the process of getting it as seamless and easy as possible. Covid-19 has added layers of complexity to moving goods and services. This is your opportunity to be entrepreneurial and get creative about how to navigate these layers on your end so it’s easier for your customers.

You know this. Think about the last time you had to solve a problem in your business or your life. You looked for the easiest solution that accomplished the task. Life is too complex right now, make simplicity your competitive advantage.

Simplify your offerings

The paradox of choice is that people don’t like to make decisions. The more choice you offer, the harder it is to decide, so they don’t. People are already overwhelmed. Make their lives easier by making your offering laser-focused on what will solve their problem.

Offer exactly what your customers want. They will tell you with their wallets.

By focusing on a few core offerings, you get very good at delivering those offerings. You develop the skills, knowledge, contacts and resources to do a better job at exactly that. You become known as the go-to person for your thing.

When your toilet is backed up in the middle of the night, you don’t call the generalist plumber, you call the one that specializes in late-night plumbing emergencies. You can bet she has everything she needs to find, diagnose and repair your problem quickly and efficiently, so you can all get back to sleep.

Create time-saving systems

The first systems to build into your business are the ones that help you with repetitive processes. Systems can be as simple as a checklist, an email template or an alert. For instance, an FAQ section can be a very effective system to save you time and your customers hassle.

Once you’ve made a few systems and realized the savings in time and cognitive ability, you will be hooked. You’ll find ways to add systems to more complicated processes that allow you to automate the repetitive aspects and free you to add the aspects and flair where it matters the most.

Bookkeeping is repetitive and automated these days. Yet my business owners need different metrics at different times as they continually work to improve their businesses. We automate most of the work so we can give personalized reporting that changes with the owner’s changing needs.

Simplifying your business is a work-in-progress. It’s never done, and it continues to improve as long as you are working on it. It pays for itself in less wasted effort and better results for you, your customers and your team.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Frances Schagen

Author: Frances Schagen

Frances is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of ClearToYou Bookkeeping and Business Support Agency. http://cleartoyou.com/ She lives to help you turn your passion, skills and knowledge into the best business for you by bringing a financial focus to your people-centred business.

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