Minimalism is one of the topics ‘du jour’ in relation to our personal lives. In my view, it’s all about having, and doing more with, less – more freedom, more ease, more success, more calm with less stuff, less time and less effort.
How can we apply the same to our home based businesses? These ideas may help you to do just that.
1. Use KISS
Simplicity is the most beautiful thing you can introduce to your business when working to practise minimalism. And it’s one of my 5 Fundamentals – the first one, in fact.
KISS stands for ‘Keep It Simple Silly’. I talk about getting really clear on what you want to do and what you don’t want to do and then aligning your business and life with that by using the second and third Fundamentals of ‘Systemise’ and ‘Share’.
- Systemise – simplify processes, use technology and automate
- Share – Delegate and outsource when possible
The simpler your business becomes to operate, the more joy you will get from it and the less often you will find yourself bogged down and procrastinating.
2. Run Your Business Online
If you can run your entire business online that can really help you to keep it streamlined and minimalist. It takes lower investment to maintain and grow, and enables you to more easily automate and outsource.
There are so many workers in the ‘gig economy’ that you can easily find the people you need to help you to run your online business.
Obviously not all businesses can run completely online but there may be elements of your business that you can take online to reduce costs and more easily enable growth, eg adding passive income in the form of downloadable products / membership options etc.
3. Develop your Vision
It’s really easy to throw yourself straight into chasing the money in your business and not taking the time to really work out what your vision for the business and your life is.
It’s important to focus on income generation and cash flow to build momentum but not to the point of overwhelm or where you find yourself running a business you didn’t want in a way you didn’t want to be working!
You really don’t need the stress and loss of momentum required to unravel everything and rejig your business operation further down the line.
Though sometimes you need to do some of that regardless of any prior planning as your market changes or your circumstances change not just because you develop your self awareness and realise you don’t want the business you thought you did!
Why is vision development necessary for minimalism in business? Several reasons, including the following:
- Helps to avoid ‘shiny new object’ syndrome
- Give you a mission to focus on to keep you on track
- Eliminates time-consuming detours that ultimately delay your success
Most importantly, though, is that when you lack a clearly defined vision, a good proportion of your effort is wasted. You’re just wandering aimlessly and there is nothing minimalistic about that.
4. Define Your Goals
Once you’re clear on your vision, you need to define goals for your business. Your goals need to be:
- Actionable – things you can actually do
- Purposeful – with a specific defined, outcome
- Achievable – set goals that are a stretch but possible
- Specific – so you are clear and can keep yourself accountable
Most importantly, goals need to be meaningful to you and must be leading towards your vision so you don’t waste time and effort working on activities that don’t move your business and/or life forwards.
5. Eliminate Clutter
Clutter is public enemy number one in a minimalistic business philosophy.
It’s not just the physical clutter in your home office – there’s digital and mental clutter too. You need to divest yourself of the things that distract you from your business.
You need to clear out the clutter that occupies your time, your mental energy, and your physical actions during the day so you focus on things that are more productive and profitable for your business or that bring you joy and enable you to ‘live more’.
6. Delegate & Outsource
This is related to my 3rd Fundamental – Share. Who can you get involved to help you to get stuff done, whether that be in your business or personal life.
One of the great things about working in today’s marketplace is the number of independent contractors looking for work. Gone are the days when you have to bring full-time employees on board, based in your office and offering benefits and salaries.
You can outsource your business in ‘packages’; delegating specific tasks to people who are most able and available to complete them.
You can delegate tasks that you don’t want to do, that you aren’t very good at, that are more efficiently and/or effectively done by someone else.
How much time could you add to your day if you had someone who did some or all of the following for your business:
- Data entry
- Writing content
- Posting content
- Managing emails
- Customer service
- Creating presentations
- Social media marketing
- Scheduling appointments
The list goes on and on.
Another example, that I have used for years, is an answering service for your business telephone. I only have to deal with calls that are useful and meaningful to my business – everything else gets dealt with by them! And no ringing phone, interrupting me…
7. Go Paperless
Paper is a killer for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Not only does it cause distractions in its own right, it also takes time to manage, file, and protect.
Look around your home office. How many cupboards, drawers and files do you have full of paper that you hardly ever (if ever!) refer to?
Eliminate as much paper from the process as possible by shifting to online services and investing in exceptional protection for that information on the Web.
8. Set Office Hours
This is an essential part of simplifying your business. Determine your specific work hours and then stick to them.
Work with your energy and your customer needs. Who says you have to work 9am-5pm?
If you’re an early bird and your customers don’t expect your immediate attention, shift your day earlier and close up after lunch!
Create time outside of work time to relax, recharge, and get creative. It is often during the moments your mind isn’t on work or solving work problems that your best (and often most profitable) ideas are born.
9. Scale Down
Walk away from the idea that you must ‘go big or go home’. Sometimes, slow growth is the most sustainable and the least disruptive to your life.
People who are constantly launching new products, new funnels, new campaigns, etc. are often chained to their business, which is certainly not a minimalist approach. And often these people, when asked, don’t always know why they are on this constant treadmill.
In my own business, getting clear about how I work with and support my customers (via my POWER to Live More CALM membership site) has enabled me to streamline my business activity in all areas freeing my time up to do more of what I want to do (to ‘live more’!).
Perhaps the single greatest gift you can give yourself when embracing a minimalist approach for your business is to automate as much of your business as possible.
As with delegation and outsourcing, the key here is to use the KISS principle mentioned at the beginning and first get really clear on what needs doing and then simplifying and streamlining the process so that you’re not trying to automate a bloated, ineffective task!
While there are sometimes costs involved in automation, the benefits and rewards far exceed the costs. Examples include:
- Slack – For streamlined team communications
- Active Campaign – Email campaign management that is especially useful for online business operations.
- Evernote – For creating your ‘external brain’
- Chatbots – For automating customer service and engagement
- Calendly – to automate your diary bookings / meetings
- Buffer – regular social media sharing
And the main tool to recommend here is Zapier, which enables you to connect two or more of the platforms / apps that you are already using to create automated processes called ‘Zaps’.
You can sign up and browse their zap templates to give you ideas.
A very simple example I use is – when I star a message in Slack that contains a request for me to do something, it is automatically sent to Todoist as a task, which stops me forgetting to action the request and saves me having to transfer it manually to achieve the same end.
These small changes can transform your business and the way you view your business. The most exciting thing is that often when taking a minimalist approach to business, the ‘less is more’ concept really kicks in and, alongside getting to ‘live more’, your business goes from strength to strength – it’s really not a coincidence!