What stresses you out most when you walk into the office? Is it demands clients are placing on your shoulders, or is it a culture of busyness that you’ve created in your organization? Many companies are discovering that they’re overcomplicating things for no reason at all.
Business Doesn’t Have to Mean Busyness
There seems to be a misconception in today’s fast-paced business world. A growing number of organizations are falling for the myth that more is better. They’re convinced, in a world with thousands of advanced tools and resources, that the more technology they use, the better. But where did this idea come from? More is rarely better. In fact, business experts with years of experience will tell you that simple processes and technologies typically lead to better efficiency and output.
Somewhere along the way, the concept of business has been confused with busyness. The problem with this confusion is that busyness doesn’t usually produce the sort of results that positively impact the bottom line. Instead, it keeps people occupied with the wrong things.
You’re most likely familiar with the idea of lean business models. In a lean business, the goal is to cut through all the fluff and identify core tasks that actually have a direct and positive impact on the overall success of the business. As the Lean Enterprise Institute puts it, 'Lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.'
If you feel like your business is characterized by inefficiency, or weighed down by superfluous processes and technologies, perhaps now is a good time to reevaluate and go lean.
3 Ways to Simplify Your Business
Simplification – or going lean – looks different for every organization. As you seek to make your business more efficient, here are a handful of ideas that could get you pointed in the right direction.
1. Automate Whenever Possible
Sometimes technology can seem like a double-edged sword. You need the latest tools in order to remain competitive in rapidly changing industries, but too many tools will bog you down.
'It may seem ironic, considering all the advantages we’ve reaped from technology, but one of the most common complaints we hear from businesses is that they have too much tech,' Ronny Kerr writes for Dialpad, a leader in modern business phone solutions. 'When technology becomes difficult to manage, poorly optimized, or not fully used, then it becomes a burden rather than a solution.'
When investing in technology, make sure you’re putting your time, money, and energy into tech that automates. Tools that require heavy manual input will do nothing but hold back productivity in the long run.
2. Cut Down on Meetings
Meetings are synonymous with business, right? Well, not necessarily. Somewhere along the line, business leaders have become addicted to meetings, when they’re rarely productive. Meetings are consistently ranked as one of the primary sources of workplace distraction and, while it may seem contradictory to the intended purpose of these gatherings, fewer meetings generally mean more productivity.
Want to simplify your daily schedule and give employees more freedom to take care of the things they need to do? Cut down on pointless meetings and restructure the critical ones.
3. Ditch Tools That Don’t Integrate
Technological fragmentation is a serious issue in many modern organizations. It’s what happens when you have lots of tools in your company, but none of them 'talk' to each other.
In order to simplify your business and achieve optimal efficiency, you need to invest in tools that can be integrated together. This cuts down on friction and allows you to spend more time on core responsibilities and less time on cumbersome tasks like formatting and converting.
It’s Time to Simplify
At the end of the day, going lean is all about changing your focus from managing separate parts of your business to making sure there’s a seamless flow from one process or technology to the next.
'Eliminating waste along entire value streams, instead of at isolated points, creates processes that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less costs and with much fewer defects, compared with traditional business systems,' the Lean Enterprise Institute explains. 'Companies are able to respond to changing customer desires with high variety, high quality, low cost, and with very fast throughput times.'
Are you prepared to simplify and get past the notion that your business has to be complicated in order to be successful? By and large, organizations that are willing to simplify are able to achieve optimal efficiency that was previously unobtainable.