9 Kick-Ass Ways to Simplify Your Business
Author: Dave Schoenbeck
Running a business is tough. There are dozens of plates to juggle and tasks to be done, and when it seems like there are multiple fires to put out, it can be difficult to know which ones to attend to first. Behind the scenes, it can feel like running a business is a complicated and stressful endeavor.
Despite this feeling, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Work on your important ideas first.
I once read a fascinating study that said that when business people leave their email open while they are at work, they change their tasks 37 times per hour. You read that right – 37 times!
We’re so easily distracted by things around us and more often than not, it’s the things we use to help us stay organized and efficient (like email) that end up slowing us down the most.
If you’re working on something important, close your email and really hone in on your project. Set a timer for 30-60 minutes and vow to keep your focus away from your phone and inbox. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish when you do close your email and really hone in on your project. Set a timer for 30-60 minutes and vow to keep your focus away from your phone and inbox. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish when you do.
Measure your most valuable metrics.
It’s important to have a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can consistently track to determine how well things are going in your business. However, as important as these indicators are, it’s also easy to get over-excited and try to track too many things.
My biggest suggestion: Keep the list short and intentional. Don’t track more than 10 things at a time. This will allow you to better invest your time and resources efficiently as you simplify your business. I recommend measuring your number of leads, lead conversion rate, average sales, # of transactions, and margins. Choose 5 more specific measurements that you can tie directly to your overall goals.
Streamline your hiring.
Finding good people can be a challenge all of its own. When you’re hiring, it’s best to have a defined process in place to ensure you don’t need to slow down other areas of your business as you onboard new employees.
Always be sure to ask specific, direct questions and reach out to each candidate’s previous employers and/or their references. Paint as best a picture as you can of how they will fit into your business culture and with your existing team.
Re-engineer your meetings.
Everyone loves a good meeting, right? Well, maybe not. There are a few things you can do to make company meetings less groan-inducing, but here’s the most important one:
Keep your meetings short and to-the-point.
This ensures you’re only discussing information that’s truly important for the health and growth of your company and not wasting time revisiting the same less-important details week after week.
Fix your outdated business processes.
As businesses grow, changes have to be made. That’s just a given. But how you go about making changes is what separates struggling businesses from thriving ones.
To simplify your business as you expand, take a look at your existing processes and choose one at a time to make improvements to. Where should you start? Choose a system that your employees or clients often voice complaints about. Break down the problems, ask for feedback, and work with your team to find a suitable solution.
Get yourself organized – really organized.
Hey, I get it – staying organized is like a whole other job. If you’re not naturally inclined to stay organized without conscious thought, failing to have strong systems in place can really put you and your business at a disadvantage.
The key is to learn how to effectively prioritize. I recommend reading Michael Linenberger’s book, The One Minute To-Do List. You won’t be sorry you did.
Clean up your desk.
This goes hand-in-hand with my previous point. Personal organization is one of the keys to a happy work environment. The more you can do to keep your work life orderly, the easier it is to simplify your business.
Here are two main keys for a clean desk: Work on only a single project at a time and find a place to prominently display your goals. Keep yourself from getting pulled away from that one project by creating a separate space for other non-active projects.
Reshape your rules.
Take a look at your company regulations and how you’ve shaped the culture within your team. Does everyone know what is expected of them without question? Are goals straightforward?
Focus on outcomes and avoid micromanaging your team, but be sure to maintain an open line of communication and understanding. The more you listen to your team, the better the entire group will work.
Hire administrative support.
There comes a time in every company when you can’t stay productive if you don’t have the right help. It can be scary to take this step because administrative assistants can really make or break a company’s image.
When you’re ready to hire admin help, be sure to write out a thorough explanation of your expectations and what the job will entail. When you hire someone, it will take time for you both to land on the same wavelength. Don’t expect this to happen overnight, but trust that your admin will strive to meet you where you need them to be. Communicate often and offer help when it’s needed.
Simplifying your business may seem like a chore, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Commit to getting your business back on the right track and in no time, you’ll be operating with less stress and more efficiency.