Anyone who read the post recently on the great productivity rush that comes from a forced deadline will know that very soon, ‘Confessions of a Small Business Owner‘ is going on the road for a while.
More to come soon on the why, what and how this is happening but for now, let’s focus on the complicated art of simplicity.
Right before heading off for a few months might not seem like the ideal time to launch both a new business and a new podcast but that’s exactly what’s happening, and they are both due to take their place in the world as early as next week!
Ever since I read Marie Kondo’s book ‘The life changing magic of tidying up’ as well as the book ‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown I have been obsessed with simplicity – with decluttering, with organising, with stripping back to what is really necessary.
Okay, this is never going to happen in every aspect of my life, my shoe collection for example is never going to be reduced to just what I actually need! But…these philosophies for freeing space (both physically and metaphorically) have definitely brought some really great shifts in more and more areas of life and work.
How is simplicity showing up in these new projects?
With a limited timeframe to launch there has had to be an approach that works on defining what is most important and concentrating on simplifying the process of both creation and delivery.
Now, simplicity does not mean sub-standard delivery. Simplicity means ‘the condition of being uncomplicated in form and design‘.
By using this ‘mantra’ as the foundation for these new projects, it has allowed much clearer, more defined and more readily accessible work to be done.
The end result?
Something much more elegant than would have been achieved if we (my business partner and I) had been trying to stuff more and more into the launch and still arguing about exactly what the client delivery piece was going to look like.
Why is simplicity so complicated?
Was this approach difficult at first? Hell yeah! I have been a chronic-over-complicator from way back.
I also see this trait time and time again in small business owners. For starters, it shows up in our constant need to prove to our clients that we are good enough and worthy enough for them to choose to spend their money with us.
This manifests itself in jargon-stuffed websites, complicated sales presentations and products with too many features and benefits that are never going to be used.
Most of this is in an effort to make us look smart. To make us look like we know what we’re talking about. To make us look like we can do the job.
What actually happens?
Rather than making potential customers warm to us, we actually do the opposite. They feel we are elitist they feel we are disconnected from them and don’t really understand what they need. They go and choose a competitor who simplifies things.
Steve Jobs – the ultimate advocate of simplicity
I was listening to a podcast recently on the subject of simplicity and removing complication and the host was referencing Steve Jobs – the ultimate advocate of simplicity.
Steve Jobs spent his life trying to simplify things. Trying to make things more accessible for everyone. To remove barriers to progress.
There is an old saying ‘under promise and over deliver’ – however, I feel most of us are striving for the over delivery in the wrong areas.
Complicating the business model
When Pepperpot Marketing started, I over-complicated everything from day one. I tried to offer every service that I thought clients wanted. The only thing this served was to stress me out and to give clients a less-than-great experience as I was trying to deliver in areas outside of my expertise.
Because I was over complicating what Pepperpot Marketing needed to be and I was afraid that if I didn’t offer all of the services clients might possibly need they wouldn’t think I was smart enough / worthy enough etc.
The turning point for the business really came when this realisation hit a couple of years in. Simplicity was the key.
By focusing on those areas that I am truly good at, offering the best service and experience to clients in my zones of genius, they do not start questioning why html coding or SEO is not not part of the Pepperpot Marketing proposition – far from it, they understand what they are getting from me and I can provide.
So how to go about simplifying?
The beauty of simplifying is that you can constantly tweak. Constantly improve and constantly work on new ways to remove barriers or over-complicated interferences.
This can be in every area of business – from operations to the customer journey to marketing planning (this last one is a DEFINITE area where most people over-complicate – marketing planning does not need to be complex and does not need to be scary, or result in a 40 page manifesto never to be looked at again. The best marketing plans are simple, easily implementable and can be worked on consistently.
A good place to start? The 7 Day Business Detox Challenge.
This will clear the clutter and give you a great start on getting the headspace right for starting to look at other aspects of your life and business where you’re over complicating things.
You can check it out here.
Here’s to enjoying a more simple life.
Love your work!
"Confessions of a Small Business Owner"
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Chief Brand Strategist