Keep it simple.
Those three words are easy to understand. However, to act on them is an entirely different challenge.
I regularly advise starting entrepreneurs and small business owners who think they need a fancy email marketing system, all the social networks, and a highly automated funnel to succeed.
They are entirely sure they need a complicated system to launch their first product or service, and that they need the most expensive tools the big marketers are suggesting.
And that is what breaks a lot of businesses before starting. We tend to overcomplicate things.
Adding complexity to a system, especially one that is starting out, is a sure way to add high amounts of stress in your life.
It’s always hard to see entrepreneurs having to go back to jobs they hate because they spent all their time and resources building complexity into their businesses.
If you want to avoid that fate (and I bet you want to do it), you need to keep simplicity at the heart of your business.
Simplicity is especially important when you are starting out a new project.
It’s easy to add all the bells and whistles to your creation when it’s just an idea, but once you start building things, you may add a lot of unnecessary elements.
It’s easier to grow in a sustainable way by keeping simplicity at the core of any project than by beginning with a complicated process that will be harder to simplify once you are running it.
To keep things as simple as possible, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve? Having a clear goal is an essential part of the process. Simplicity is impossible if your goal is not clear or focused.
- What are the steps I need to achieve my goal? Make a list; this part doesn’t need to be thoroughly detailed, it’s just a guide for you to understand what kind of effort is involved.
- Do I need all these steps to achieve my goal? Challenge your assumptions and remove unnecessary steps.
- Is there a simpler way to do it? Review your remaining steps and find ways to simplify them.
- Do I need external help? Remember that you don’t need to tackle everything by yourself, ask for help when a step requires it.
Be honest with yourself when answering these questions, and check your answers against your values; make sure you stay true to them.
It may be hard to remove parts of your creation to achieve simplicity, but the hard work required to answer those questions will save you hundreds of hours in the long run.
And keep in mind, you can always improve on your creation. Nothing is set in stone; you don’t have to nail it perfectly on the first try. You can launch version 2.0 once you have tested your idea.