There’s a lot of talk about making life easier–getting rid of clutter, buying less, not making things so complicated. We carry around a powerful multi-tasker that takes pictures, does our banking, keeps us on schedule, and makes phone calls. Some people are even moving to 300 square feet homes to minimize the things in their lives. Yes, simple is in. But is it time to simplify your business? The answer is probably yes.
The Benefits of Simplification
One of the most common examples in simplification in business is lean manufacturing or operating in a lean environment, with little excess.
But simplifying can also be done by limiting your offerings, streamlining and specializing in what you do best as well as simplifying products in design and function.
When things are easy, more people will adopt them and because the learning curve is minimal people will stay with the product. Steve Jobs and crew did this in eliminating buttons, employing a swipe, and streamlining design in Apple’s i-products.
Simplification is also a way to differentiate your business in a crowded market like Frontier Airlines does. They offer bare-bones airline travel for people who don’t want to pay for all the extras in their ticket.
Sometimes businesses simplify pricing and require willing customers to take on some of the “cost.” Aldi grocery stores does this by not supplying free grocery bags (you can pay for them), requiring customers to bag themselves, and charging a quarter to “rent” a grocery cart to entice people to return carts to the cart corral. In return, customers get the lowest prices without cutting coupons.
Ways to Simplify Your Business for Greater Return
Maybe simplifying to bare bones or creating the new swipe isn’t a possibility for you but here are a couple of ideas to simplify this spring:
Who You Serve
Don’t try to serve everyone. Think about a niche and how you might become the best in serving that group. It may be a lot easier to be at the top of a niche than the general market and you’ll be more valuable to that industry because you will understand them and be one of the few who does. Personalization is now an expectation of customers and specializing in a niche is a great way to accomplish that.
You could rework pricing to service a special group just as Aldi targets the thrifty shopper. Where can you cut costs and pass the discounts on to the customer? Are there any areas where they might be willing to take on some of the work with a lower price point and lower service levels? Or you could look to changing your pricing to the other end enticing luxury buyers and bundling things together knowing that they’ll pay extra to have a one-stop shop or service, handling what they need for them.
Taking all aspects of your business to the cloud can mean a reduction in costs with better security and fewer worries over lost data. It also helps employees (and customers, if fitting) reach information from anywhere they have an Internet connection. By promoting cloud networks you can also save costs on printing and paper waste.
Want more suggestions about simplifying? Try these ideas from Entrepreneur magazine.