To quote George Gershwin, “Summertime, And the livin’ is easy.” Or is it? Many times when I ask a business owner to describe their business or challenges, the answer I get is “It’s complicated.”
If you want a less complicated business, and therefore a less complicated day, here are some tips…
Stick to Your Strengths – Automate or Delegate the Rest
Let’s start with you as the business owner. What are you really good at and what do you enjoy doing? Identify your core strengths and focus on them. If you don’t know or don’t want to know how to use accounting software but keep meaning to learn, hire an expert. The cost is minimal when compared to your time and frustration. Having monthly, accurate reports will make decisions easier and better. Plus, there is less stress at tax time. On the flip side, if you are a whiz at social media and have the time to do it, have fun with it.
Automate as much as possible, especially repetitive tasks. Some candidates for automation are sending invoices, scheduling appointments, and managing inventory. Automating these tasks will free up your time so you can focus on more important things. Again, if something is not your strength, consider automating it.
Take off the Superhero Cape and delegate tasks. If you’re trying to do everything yourself, you’re going to burn out, especially those things that do not play to your strengths. Delegate tasks to your employees or hire services and contractors to help you out. This will free up your time so you can focus on the big picture.
Get Clear on Your Priorities
When you have a clear set of priorities and goals, it’s easier to focus and keep your days more simple. What do you want to achieve this quarter? Is what you are doing getting you closer to that goal, or is it a distraction? Is your team focused on their top priorities, or are their days more complicated with low-value tasks?
Simplifying Your Customer Experience
Look at your customers. What do they value? Put your time and resources into products and services that your customers really want. Eliminate the low volume sellers so you can focus on what truly brings in customers.
Get their feedback. Ask them what they like and dislike about your business, how easy it was to buy from you, and what they would change. This feedback can help you identify areas where you can simplify. It can be as easy as adding information to your website that your customers need. A Frequently Asked Questions page can eliminate a lot of phone calls and messages and make it easier for the customer to buy, too.
Eliminate Unnecessary Steps in Your Processes
Take a close look at each of your business processes and see what can be eliminated or improved. Are there any steps that are no longer necessary? “We’ve always done it this way” is a measure of comfort, not a measure of efficiency or effectiveness.
An outside perspective, or a fresh set of eyes on your processes can help. Make sure you get input from your team at all levels; they may be aware of inefficiencies that leadership hasn’t identified.
Make sure that your communication is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Eliminate noise – get to the point. Using tools like email, project management software, chat software, and video conferencing helps to keep everyone in the loop. Make meetings more effective by sending out an agenda ahead of time, then sticking to the agenda during the meeting.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are many technology tools that can help you simplify your business. For example, you can use cloud-based software to store and access your data from anywhere. You can also use project management software to track your progress and stay on schedule. A shared calendar helps the entire team know who is doing what and when.
Simplifying your business takes time and effort. Be patient. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Just keep working at it, making adjustments as you go. By following these tips, you can make your business more efficient, productive, and profitable. Plus, you will be able to enjoy some Easy Livin’ in the Summertime!
Author, Sandy Merritt, Business Coach in Louisville, KY