The one thing I hear time and time again from business owners both new and old, startup or established, big or small is a feeling of overwhelm. A feeling of doing too much, being in too many meetings, trying to succeed on too many fronts.
It's a common issue, and there's a common cause. Complexity is the downfall of many a business and business leader. In the pursuit of success we do as many things as we can to get the results we want. We launch as many products as possible through as many channels as we can, create as many connections as possible and try and be everywhere at once. It's a kind of commercial spread betting and in the start up stage, it kind of makes sense. The trouble is, when the cogs of your business are churning away, moving at breakneck speed to get products or services to market, it's often difficult to stop and take stock for long enough to really think about whether or not everything you're doing makes sense.
It's the same with business process. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and most business processes are developed out of sheer need to fix an issue or get hold of a part of the business that seems out of control. Once things are back up and running, we accept it as the status quo until the next time something falls down. The result is process layered upon process and a general feeling of not knowing where things really stand.
The problem is, unless you regularly pause and reflect to review the things that are working and the things that aren't, you create a huge number of products, services and processes to manage your business. You create complexity, confusion and inefficiency which in turn costs you money, time and credibility. It also creates waste, decreases your profitability and significantly affects your ability to run your business well.
I once led a team to reduce the number of products we sold from 900 to around 400. In the short term, our profit dropped by 5%. Twelve months later, we were 20% more profitable as a business - with half the products. The answer to being a more profitable, productive business is simply to do less. Do less, but do more of the right things. Find out where your profit lies and kill the products that aren't making you money. Every product you sell costs your business money so if it isn't working, don't keep it. Work out which processes you need and just stop doing anything you don't need to do. Sound simplistic? It is, and it's not easy but it is also very effective. Work out which business relationships are working for you, and don't waste time on the ones that don't. Simplify everything, strip it all back, remove the layers and do only what you need to do to make the business work. Think simple, remove complexity and your business will be a whole lot healthier for it.
From a leadership point of view, you'll need to be bold and brave - stripping things back feels anything from counterintuitive to mildly terrifying but to quote Marshall Goldsmith 'what got you here won't get you there'. So roll your sleeves up, understand the data and make some strong decisions, the rewards are significant.
Can you relate? I work with businesses to address all of the problems outlined above and I'm yet to meet a business owner that isn't impacted by what I've shared here. If you'd like to find out more about what I do and how I could help why not book a call using the link below: