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  • Writer's pictureNicola Reid

choosing simplicity to grow my business

In a world of ever-changing technologies and rapid progression, it can be difficult to stay focused on what is important and what is not for running a business.


my journey to complexity


this is something I have found throughout my time growing bespoke labels. In the beginning, it was easy enough - just a few customers to manage, and a few different types of labels to produce...


But as time has gone on with more customers to manage, more products to offer, more machinery to maintain, more materials and suppliers to keep track of (to name a few!), I found I was adding more and more systems to help regulate and oversee all of these things.


It was in the middle of 2022, after spending 5 hours out of my 6-hour working day updating sheets and inputting data, and then starting to looking at setting up an all-singing all-dancing customer ordering system I stopped...


what was I doing?!? rather than managing my business, overseeing production, and using my time to grow and improve my business, I was filling in sheets for over 80% of my day...I thought to myself this needs to change. This is when I came across the concept of simplicity.


Small Business Owner on Laptop

what is simplicity in business?


okay so we all know what simplicity is - it's keeping things simple. but simplicity in business , something that naturally isn't simple(!), is a little different.


After some research, I found that, In terms of business, simplicity is a focused plan to eliminate unnecessary and ineffective processes; streamline operations, and focus your energy on developing the business.


After practicing simplicity myself I HAVE ALSO REASLIED THAT IT IS AS MUCH A STATE OF MIND AS IT IS A PHYSICAL TASK. It is very easy to over complicate something and make it more than it is, so there is also a mindset shift when it comes to simplicity.


my journey to simplicity


Hans Hofmann said, "To simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary, so the necessary may speak". This can be easier said than done when everything seems necessary in the business! but after practicing simplicity, for me the best thing was taking one process at a time, looking at what I thought was its benefit, checking if it was, in fact, a benefit, and then streamlining.


It was amazing the amount of processes I was following to "manage my business" when, in actual fact, they were no required and they they had no substantial benefit.


After reading a consumer survey which stated "61% of consumers are willing to leave for competitors offering easier login." Alongside my internal processes, my biggest aim was to ensure my customer experience was as simple as possible. If that many customers will leave due to issues logging in, how many would, leave if the process as a whole was complicated?!


As such, I ditched my all singing all dancing customer ordering system and reverted right back to the simplest form I could find - good old email and phone calls, where customers can just tell us what they are looking for in their own words and we could do it - simple as that.


Meaning of simplify

benefits of simplicity in business


Over the past 2 years I have strived for simplicity within our business and we are really seeing the results:


More Time for business strategy and growth - by simplifying our processes, the 5 hours daily I was spending updating sheets and monitoring systems is now down to around 2 hours a week, giving me more time to work on growing the business, making us more efficient and improving our customer experience


Easier delegation and management - now that our systems are simpler, they are easier to delegate and be managed by anyone in the team, so the work does not fall on one person (usually me!)


Enhanced customer experience - our customers can contact us easily without going through complicated processes, they can choose the simplest and easiest method for them which integrates in their business


quicker decision making and strategy execution - when we have the opportunity for growth, or an issue arises, we can make quicker more informed decisions as the information we need for these decisions is there in a clear and uncluttered format


Clearer mindset - with the reduction in noise and unnecessary process and tools, I find I am more focused in my working hours, I know what is happening in the business at a quick glance and I can work on the more important aspects without being dragged down with the unnecessary.


conclusion


I know I am still far off from a completely simplistic business, however by reviewing our processes, cutting out the noise and really focusing on what contributes to our business growth and our customer experience, I have created a mindset which will continue to strive for business improvement through simplicity.









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