10 easy steps to simplify your small business

Simplify your business - Liz Hall Design

Two things have prompted the idea for this blog, both different but both related.

The first is the fact that I’m on maternity, I’ve added to my brood and I need a business that fits my changed circumstances. I need my business to be easy to run.

The other is my ‘word of the year’, I chose Simplify. My house started to overflow with stuff and I got tired of searching for stuff and tripping over stuff. Stuff I don’t actually need or even want.

As I’ve been sorting through the house, I’ve been going through my office, and it clicked that I needed to simplify my business too. Much of what I’ve been doing in my home life also applies to my business life

Learn to say no

I get offered lots of things in my business life – jobs, opportunities for networking and meetings. But they’re not always right for me. Accept the invite and then check your calendar – this gives you time to decide whether it aligns with your goals and if it will move your business forward. If it doesn’t, just say no.

Reduce your emotional clutter

Small business owners like us are filled with doubts over everything we do, there’s a million things a day that can stop us in our tracks or make us mull over. Try stay away from the triggers and anything that isn’t positive for both you and your business. This includes toxic people you network with, do business with, negative articles, negative practices (stalking your competitors on social media?)

Declutter your desk and office

It doesn’t matter where your office is, whether you have a lovely dedicated room, a cupboard under the stairs or the kitchen table. Declutter and make it a nice space to work in and simpler to find stuff.

I did this a while ago but it’s ongoing. I’m always picking up business cards, leaflets, freebies when I go out. Keep and store what you need, make a note of details you want and then recycle all the paper waste.  If you need some tips, have a peek at my blog here >> Declutter your office and your business

Automate as much as you can

We have so much to do every day and remember, not only in business but personal lives too. Automate as much as you can, set up reminder, even automatic relies to frequently asked questions.

I often send a link to one of my web pages or a blog I’ve written with a short note. It all saves times plus increases traffic to your website. 

Reduce your mental clutter

Do a brain dump and create a big list, then go through it and prioritise. How much of it do you really need to do, if not, forget about it. Set aside some time for the little jobs and schedule in the big stuff. 

Do this regularly, it’s much better on paper than in your head. As a big list maker, I get added satisfaction from crossing all those jobs off.

Prioritise your jobs

Will this move your business forward? Are you being busy or pro active? Pick 3 things a day that will move your business forward and make a difference. Don’t get to the end of the day and be exhausted without having done anything useful in your business.

Define your business goals

What do you want from your business? Where is it going? Once you know it makes decision making simpler – only do things or accept invites that bring you closer or align with your goals. Say no to everything else.

Creating a mission statement is a good place to start. It goes right back to the start but you can’t really move forward unless you know why you’re doing it. 

Set up simple routines

Be clear on how your business trades and how you deal with people so you know what to do and so do your clients. I do this with my branding work, I do the steps in a particular order so both my client and I know where we are in the process and what’s coming next. We focus on one step at a time.

Reduce your digital clutter

Going digital doesn’t mean you can just shift everything onto your desktop. Delete all unnecessary files and create a system that helps you find where everything is quickly and easily. Try the following:

  • Keep all your branding information in one place so you can easily access logos, fonts, colours and images.
  • Organise your emails and create a Zero inbox (it took me a few months to do mine).
  • Unsubscribe to unnecessary emails which allows you to actually enjoy the good ones which are left.
  • Create rules to sort incoming emails (I send all my social media notifications into one folder or else my inbox gets full very quickly).

Set realistic expectations

You run a small business and probably juggle a few other plates too (partner, kids, family, friends), you don’t need to be available 24 hours a day for your clients. You don’t need to be answering emails at 11pm or checking social media all evening, not if you don’t want to. Sometimes that’s the only time you can do it, and that’s fine. But do it on your terms. Let clients know when you’re available and what your working hours are.

And finally

All this won’t happen overnight so don’t add stress by trying to eliminate it all at once! Pick a section at a time and slowly start to incorporate it into your business life.
It’s definitely a work in progress for me and I’d love to hear how you get in.
Let me know in the comments.

Liz x

10 useful design tips for your marketing freebie

design tips for your marketing freebie - Liz Hall Design, logo design, graphic design, Bradford

A marketing freebie is a great asset for your business – you can tempt people to sign up to your email list, use it as a Thank You to your customers, or simply to show your expertise and have as a download on your website or on your social media.

So how do you start? Well, I can give you a few tips from the design side but unfortunately, coming up with the content is your first job!

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7 creative and different ideas for your next business card

Liz Hall Design - Logo design, graphic design, Bradford - business card inspiration

Most of us business owners rely on the traditional 85x55mm business card – easy to handle, they fit into business card holders, they just work.

But there are a few creative alternatives around which might spark your imagination and fit your business better. They may suit your business personality and branding better, they might help you stand out more at networking events, they might even double up product tags or a loyalty card.

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10 ways to promote your small business with stickers

promote your small business with stickers - Liz Hall Design - logo design, graphic design. Bradford

I absolutely love stickers but they are an overlooked marketing tool. Cost effective to print, they can be used in any number of ways to promote your brand, quickly and easily.

They come in a range of shapes and sizes and used well, can really enhance your brand. Print a generic design and it will work on a large range of marketing for a number of years, or print a small run for a specific campaign or event.

You can provide clients with extra information about your business, prices, information on products and services, direct them towards your social media, or even tempt them with special offers.

Just think creatively how you can use them to market your small business and raise your brand awareness.

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10 wellbeing tips for you and your small business

wellbeing at work - Liz Hall Design - Logo design, graphic design, Bradford

Running your own business isn’t easy. In many ways it’s much, much harder as we self employed have to wear so many different hats. Add to the mix juggling kids and parents, being constantly switched on to our phones and iPads… it’s no surprise that anxiety and stress is rife. Ok, so that’s the bad bit!

The good bit is that you’re running a fabulous business that you love, you’re your own boss and there’s loads of things you can do to create some wellness in your business life. Small tweaks and changes in your business life can make a huge difference as I’ve learnt over the last few years of running my own graphic design business.

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10 ways to personalise your social media for small businesses

social media marketing - Liz Hall Design - logo design, graphic design, Bradford

Social media is just that, it’s about being social and getting to know your customers and your followers. The odd selling post is fine (your ultimate goal is to sell more, after all!) but no-one likes being blatantly sold to.

The bulk of your social media posts should be about connecting and I’ve personally found that my more personal posts get far more engagement and reach than any other. Now that’s not to say you should start spilling all your personal life all over your business page. Definitely not!

But people do buy from people and love to know more about the person they’re buying from. Big businesses and companies spend millions trying to get that personal touch across but for you it’s easy. I’ve put together 10 ideas for posts where your customers can get to know more about you and your business but without revealing every detail about your personal life.

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10 creative ways to help your business stay visible over Christmas

Christmas marketing - Liz Hall Design - graphic design, logo design, Bradford

For some businesses the Christmas period is so busy and their perfect time of year. For others, it’s more of a tough slog. They get forgotten about, they’re not really appropriate for Christmas, and business can really slow down or halt altogether.

If this sounds like you (and I’m one of those people), there are lots of things you can do throughout December to keep your business visible and get your customers ready to spend with you when Christmas isn’t all consuming and they have the money to spend again.

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