Minimalism as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a style or technique that is characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity.” You may not realize it, but this approach can actually help you run a better business. In essence, it’s about being more organized and more efficient, which in turn, will help you to be more profitable.
The first thing most think of when they hear minimalism is less stuff. The physical component of a minimalist lifestyle is the most obvious. People often get caught up in having things around them. In business, this comes in the form of saving old records, never deleting emails, or ordering too much inventory. To keep your business running efficiently, you want to avoid this type of physical (or virtual) clutter. Too many things around makes your workspace less productive and also more stressful. Instead, take a minimalist approach when organizing and purchasing physical items to support working efficiently and comfortably.
Minimalism isn’t just about having less stuff, it is much more broadly a mindset to living a simpler life. When you run a business, things can get chaotic. Tasks pile up on top of each other and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. By taking a minimalist approach to running your business, you are required to prioritize, delegate and eliminate tasks. This includes keeping business development tasks on top, outsourcing routine tasks like payroll, and discontinuing outdated email marketing campaigns that no longer yield results.
Minimalism can also help as you develop new ideas and strategies. The key here is to have a clear and specific goal about where your business is headed. Remaining true to this goal will help to avoid over-diversifying operations just because you can. While that new and large sales opportunity may be appealing, if it doesn’t fit your long-term business model, it may be taking valuable time and resources away from growing your core business.
Once you begin to experience the benefits of minimalism, there is the danger of going a bit too far. For example, before you start applying minimalism to all aspects of your operation, consider the following:
- Don’t confuse minimalism with restrictive. Creative thinking benefits from first thinking outside the box and then coming back and applying sound principals like a SWOT Analysis to define the best strategy going forward
- Not all records need to go into the trash. The general rule of thumb is to maintain tax records, employee files, and bank statements for at least seven years.
- Avoid applying “less is more” to business planning. The business environment is constantly changing, which requires you to change with it if you’re going to remain competitive and drive growth. At some point, this may also require bringing on new people, new products, new services, and new facilities.
In short, minimalism is about keeping this simple. The world is complicated enough these days. Your business doesn’t’ have to be. Success is about becoming a lean, mean, profitable machine!