How to Simplify Your Business
There’s a lot of talk about making life easier–getting rid of clutter, buying less, not making things so complicated. Some people are even moving to 300 square feet homes to minimize the things in their lives.
Yes, simple is in. But is it time to simplify your business?
The answer is probably yes.
The Benefits of Simplification
One of the most common examples of simplification in business is lean manufacturing or operating in a lean environment, with little excess.
But simplifying can also be done by limiting your offerings. We saw a lot of that during COVID and more of it when problems with supply chain and rising costs forced many businesses to scale back their offerings.
But we’ve been simplifying for a while. Some businesses have made a name for themselves but focussing on one or two things. When the McDonald brothers came to Ray Kroc to buy eight milkshake makers and told him the original idea for their restaurant, Kroc wrote that it was a “…radically different kind of operation, a restaurant stripped down to the minimum of service and menu.” This was back before the McRib and salads. He went on to write, “…When I saw it working that day in 1954, I felt like some latter-day Newton who had just had an Idaho potato caromed off his skull.”
When things are easy, more people will adopt them and because the learning curve is minimal people will stay with the product. Steve Jobs and crew did this in eliminating buttons, employing a swipe, and streamlining design in Apple’s i-products.
Simplification is also a way to differentiate your business in a crowded market like Frontier Airlines does. They offer bare-bones airline travel for people who don’t want to pay for all the extras in their ticket.
Sometimes businesses simplify pricing and require willing customers to take on some of the “cost.” Aldi grocery stores does this by not supplying free grocery bags (you can pay for them), requiring customers to bag themselves, and charging a quarter to “rent” a grocery cart to entice people to return carts to the cart corral. In return, customers get the lowest prices without cutting coupons.
Ways to Simplify Your Business for Greater Return
Maybe simplifying your menu or creating the new swipe isn’t a possibility for you. Here are a couple of ideas for how you could simplify:
Narrow Down Who You Serve
Don’t try to serve everyone. Think about a niche and how you might become the best in serving that group. It may be a lot easier to be at the top of a niche than the general market. You’ll be more valuable to that industry because you will understand them and be one of the few who does. Personalization is now an expectation of customers and specializing in a niche is a great way to accomplish that.
Adjust Your Pricing
You could rework pricing to service a special group just as Aldi targets the thrifty shopper. Where can you cut costs and pass the discounts on to the customer? Are there any areas where they might be willing to take on some of the work like the McDonalds brothers did with a lower price menu and no waitress service? Or you could look to changing your pricing to the other end enticing luxury buyers and bundling things together knowing that they’ll pay extra to have a one-stop shop or service, handling what they need for them.
Simplify Your Technology
Taking all aspects of your business to the cloud can mean a reduction in costs with better security and fewer worries over lost data. It also helps employees (and customers, if fitting) reach information from anywhere they have an Internet connection.
How to Start Simplifying Business
If you’re interested in simplifying in one of those ways, here’s how you can do it:
- Identify your core products or services
Take a step back and analyze your business to identify what products or services are most profitable and in demand. Once you’ve identified these core offerings, focus on streamlining and optimizing them to increase efficiency and profitability. Consider cutting back on offerings that aren’t as profitable or in demand to simplify your business.
- Simplify your website and marketing materials
Ensure your website and marketing materials are easy to navigate and understand. Simplify your messaging and avoid using jargon or overly technical language that can confuse customers. Use clear, concise language and a simple layout to convey your message effectively.
- Focus on your strengths
Identify your areas of expertise and focus on them. Avoid spreading yourself too thin by trying to offer a wide range of services or products. Instead, specialize in what you’re best at and become known for it. This will simplify your business and make it easier to market yourself.
Often simplification cuts costs and with fewer moving parts there’s less to go wrong. However, when choosing how you will simplify your business, keep in mind there is a difference between simplification and placing all your eggs in one basket.
In conclusion, simplifying your business can lead to increased productivity, efficiency, and profitability. By focusing on your core offerings, simplifying your website and marketing materials, and focusing on your strengths, you can simplify your business and set yourself up for long-term success.