I’ll admit that the last several weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I’ve had to rethink my business model as an area of my business I originally thought would be a small portion has become a critical part of my success. I’ve also been preparing various workshops and seminars for next week as part of my agreement with a major continuing education provider. It has been a stressful, but very enjoyable time.
I’ve worked for companies building very complex machinery, and I’ve seen how complexity can seep into different areas of business. Great entrepreneurs notice the problems associated with complexity, and they work hard to do something about it. Richard Branson has started dozens of companies during his illustrious career, but he lists simplicity as one of his five key success factors in business. My favorite part of Walter Issacson’s biography of Steve Jobs (affiliate link) was when Jobs drew a two by two matrix on a whiteboard and told his team to make one product for each quadrant. Branson and Jobs embody the importance of simplicity in running a successful business.
Our business planning must emphasize simplicity. We cannot afford to spend time guessing on the right course of action or agonizing over which projects to execute. We must tell the story of our business in clear, simple terms. Here are three steps to making that happen.
1. Reduce the number of tools you use – I know I’m as guilty as anyone for falling into the “app trap”. I have made a significant effort to reduce the number of applications I use and to make these applications work together whenever possible. Episode #15 of Making Business Happen Radio highlights how my preferred CRM solution must integrate with Google Apps. I do not want to enter the same information into different tools.
2. Limit your objectives and strategies – Not having a target is a sure way to make your business fail. Having too many targets will accomplish the same thing. Pick no more than five objectives to track and identify no more than five “must do” strategies to follow. If you do not limit your objectives and strategies, you will endlessly bounce.
3. Identify an ideal customer and value proposition for every idea first – If you can’t simply explain who will purchase your product or service and how they will benefit, the idea is not simple enough.
Simplicity is the hallmark of great businesses. Find one way to make your business simpler today and watch your productivity and focus increase.
How will you simplify your business today?