10 easy steps to simplify your small business

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

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