For small businesses, complexity is particularly mystifying. Getting as many employees to do as many things as possible to attract as many customers as possible is, on paper, a gateway to productivity. In reality, trying to do too much, too soon, and with too few resources is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there’s a few key ways to make the complicated, complex world of small business both simpler and more productive.
1: Don’t compromise
When facing difficult business challenges, it is often tempting to take the simpler, easier path. After all, they all lead to the same goal, right? Not exactly. It’s actually simpler and more productive to tackle the toughest situations directly. This helps to define your values and work ethic to employees and customers alike and may actually lead to new opportunities. This, of course, should already be a major part of your SWOT analyses – sifting through threats to discover hidden opportunities to help the business and its employees grow.
2: Focus on core services
As Steve Jobs himself once noted, it’s highly important for companies to focus on doing “simple” things and doing them well. An iPhone, for instance, is one of the most sophisticated devices in the world … yet it is simple enough for a child to intuitively use. In terms of running a business, the focus on simplicity should be on the core services provided by that company. Instead of confusing clients and employees alike by adding a non-stop bevy of new bells and whistles, focus on making key services more intuitive and easy to use. This always builds client trust much more effectively than making things needlessly complex.
3: Deliver one point at a time
On a related note, it’s important to keep information delivery simple. Whether it’s informing consumers about a new product or describing a new marketing strategy to employees, the temptation is there to give everyone as much information as possible. However, in a world of hashtags and headlines, people crave a simple and direct message. Even relatively simple messages can be made simpler. People often try to give three important points at once, but that time might be better spent focusing on one key message. This way, the points don’t compete with each other for the attention of your audience.
4: Embrace imperfection
One particular affliction is shared by almost all of the great business leaders and innovators throughout the world: They want things to be absolutely perfect. After all, when bringing their ideas to life, why would they settle for anything short of their vision? However, as Inc.com notes, waiting for something to be perfect can be dangerous: Productivity grinds to a halt as individuals and entire teams focus on doing one thing perfectly instead of doing several things well. Ultimately, customers are not expecting everything to be completely perfect, but they are expecting prompt service and high (though not impossibly high) standards. If a business waits for perfection, the simple truth is that customers won’t wait for the business.