The saying “less is more” is attributed to Lugwig Mies Van Der Rohe, one the founders of modern architecture. He promoted simplicity of design. The concept of simplicity may be a good one in this period of recession. Simplicity in your business can give you more time to do needed activities, reduce stress, and help you weather the economic challenges faced today.
Here are some ways you—the small business owner—can use this philosophy in your business now.
Making time is a weird expression, since time can’t be created. What can be done is optimizing the time you have and simplify your day. Some ideas: reduce the number of meetings, limit the length of the meetings you do have, and restrict the tasks you hope to accomplish each day. Most importantly, focus on what’s important, or at least prioritize your activities. You don’t have to do it all.
Another way to make more time is to let someone else do it…whatever “it” is. Consider a virtual assistant to help you with scheduling, responding to email, creating presentations, or any other activities that can be turned over to someone else, giving you more time for the things that only you can do.
While technology is complicated—especially for boomers like me—its use results in simplicity for operations. Putting everything online centralizes your business information and makes it easily accessible to you and your staff. Technology can be used for financial and accounting purposes, customer relations (CRM), tracking employee hours and activities, marketing activities, collaborating on projects, and so much more.
Utilizing technology involves some financial commitment and usually there’s a learning curve. But in the long run, technology makes things easier.
Stick with what you do best
A recession may not be the best time to expand into uncharted areas that require you to learn things. Simplify your schedule by concentrating on your current, familiar operations.
Keep your current staff
Do what’s needed to retain your workers. If you don’t, you’ll have to recruit and then train new ones.
You might also hold off on hiring additional staff, even if your business could benefit from having more help. Consider using independent contractors to be sure that more labor is permanently needed. Another option: temp workers hired through agencies. Both of these options avoid additional payroll taxes, integrating workers into company culture, and a long-term commitment that may be hard to keep if business declines during this recession.
Outsource what you can
The less you have to oversee in-house, the simpler your day will be. Consider outsourcing HR functions, such as managing employee benefits and doing payroll. Yes, it costs money to use a payroll company. But the advantages include: more time for you to devote sales activities and planning and the assurance that these functions get done right.
Clutter costs time. As noted by Harvard Business Review, clutter also adversely affects your brain and mental health. Whether the clutter is in your workplace, your warehouse, or your computer, having things unorganized, outdated, and just messy costs you time, effort, stress, and anxiety when you need to locate something. Invest some time in clearing out outdated things. For example, perhaps you’ve clipped or bookmarked an article you planned to read. Well, read it now or get rid of it; having it hang around just gets in the way.
Henry David Thoreau famously said: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
Sure, business is all about details and this can’t be ignored. But there’s room for simplifying. Doing this may go a long way in helping you run your business better.