In business, as in the rest of our lives, it is always best to Keep It Simple S….(whatever adjective starting with S you’d like to use). In reading a book by Justin Harrison called Get Off the Bench, I came across some very interesting and helpful principles about simplicity that I wanted to pass on. Although his book is written for those interested in multi-level marketing, specifically doTERRA, his ideas on simplicity in working your business rang true for all sorts of small business owners.
“For some reason, simple has become a synonym for unintelligent.“ (p. 42) He goes on to correctly point out that we often feel that the least complex answer to our problems must be wrong. We will spend lots of time and money trying to solve problems and avoid some of the simplest answers. Not making enough money in your business? Stop giving it all away to others like your associates, vendors, and tax collectors. Make sure that you allocate some to yourself first. Simple, right?
Unsure about how your business is doing and where you should be focussing your time and money? Look at your financial reports, your Profit and Loss and your Balance Sheet. These documents contain all the information you need to evaluate your business’ strengths and weaknesses. The data you enter into your accounting program (QuickBooks, Xero or even Excel) is your business’ way of telling you how it’s doing. You just need to listen regularly.
“The truth is also that emotions make things more complex than we care to admit.“ (p. 43) We frequently seem to forget that emotions are involved in business decisions. It affects how you interact with your boss and your co-workers, your employees and your vendors and even your customers. Why is this important? Because emotions DO make things more complex.
Looking at your expenses should be a simple matter of evaluating what you’re spending, is it more than you’re making and where can you prioritize and maybe save some money. Sounds simple but then emotions come into play. Suddenly (and I know this from personal experience), expenses that might be eliminated are “needed” because we like the vendor’s rep, or we don’t like the less-expensive competitor, or because we just like having multi-pasteurized, super-filtered, refrigerated, bubbly water trucked in daily. It’s important to recognize these feelings when making these determinations and perhaps have an uninterested party review them with you.
The same is true on the income side. Perhaps there is an exciting new service that you can add on and create some great new revenue without significant costs, but you don’t really like doing it. Is that good business? Sometimes, but sometimes not. Either way, you need to be honest with yourself that you’re making an emotional business decision and not just a business decision.
“It’s especially easy to not repeatedly do the simple things…” (p. 46) He goes on to discuss how we are programmed to look for the “atom bomb approach”. He reminds us that by doing the simple, repetitive things every day, we build our success. Again, he’s talking specifically to multi-level marketers, but it’s applicable to “main street” as well.
Your customers or clients come to you for a particular reason. In order to build on your success, it’s critical for you to determine what that reason is and make sure you duplicate it, day in and day out. While that may not be exciting, it is profitable. Michael Gerber in The E-Myth, points to the fact that McDonalds make billions every year by producing their hamburgers and french fries the same way, in every location, every visit. Their success is built on that predictability. If they weren’t consistent, they would lose business. The same is true for your business.
Not only do you need to identify what specific items, interactions or systems draw your customers to you, you need to institutionalize them. They need to be presented to your customers the same way, every day, by every member of your team. This is how you build upon your success and grow your business.
If you need help working on some of the ideas presented here, please contact us.
Quotes taken from, Get In The Game, by Justin Harrison, 2014, MyOilBusiness.