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Simplifying your business: how to get started

Every business needs to get things done. Failing that, there’s no delivery of products, services, or help (if you’re a non-profit organization). If you can do things faster, in fewer steps and with less effort, you have an edge, a substantial competitive advantage.

That’s one big reason why simplifying a business’ organization, processes, products, or management practices is important. But now, how do you get your business to think simpler, better, faster, especially if you’re not the CEO?

1. Showcase the problem

Here are 3 ways to uncover unnecessary complexities:

A. Fill in our complexity finder questionnaire with your team. It takes only a few minutes and it’ll help you all to see where the complexities lie.

B. List your business’s pain points and ask yourself if complexity is to blame. For example, excessive processes or disorganization can lead to people leaving and burn-outs, projects being delayed etc.

C. Bring the customer’s or user’s perspective into the business — an effective way to highlight complexities created by too much internal vs. external focus. Invite customers to a team meeting, take your team out to meet users and so on.

2. Build a business case for simplicity

This is easier than it sounds. Let’s say that in this first step, you uncover that you spend too much time in meetings. Meetings for ‘show’ with little or no active participation, update meetings for which an email would suffice.

Now multiply the number of participants in said meetings x an average hourly rate x the number of times these meetings take place in a year. The result will quickly be in millions as Shopify recently uncovered thanks to its meeting cost calculator. That’s savings waiting to be realized and your business case made.

3. Showcase what simplicity can deliver

Apple, Easyjet, McDonald’s, Airbnb, Uber, Dropbox, Netflix are all built on simplicity. It’s in their DNA, they know its value and keep asking how they can create products and services that are easier to use, understand and buy.

Merck “Simplify and Act with Urgency”, Deloitte “The Simplification Principle”, l’Oréal who are simplifying to create organizational resilience and of course Jack Welsh GE’s “Simplify or Ossify” are examples of businesses who worked / are working to make their operations simpler. We have the full stories — just ask us.

So, give it a go and you might just become the hero who introduces simplification to your business!


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