6 Abilities to Master to Take your Business to the next level - #1 Simplify

This is 6 part series of the abilities you need to master to take your business to the next level. 

#1  Simplify


It sounds like a bit of a buzz word, but it is so important.  
Businesses can get complex fast your job is to commit to keeping it as simple as possible.

And simplicity will lead to more profit.  

Simplify People
How many people need to work on a project and be aware of all the details?  The more people you involve the more complex it gets.  If you are clear on who is responsible for what it is much simpler.   

Simplify Products
When we have complex offerings we create complex businesses.  Can you explain what you offer quickly? How fast can your target market understand what you do/offer?  Are your efforts focused on your most profitable products/customers?  If you keep adding more offerings, typically you are diluting your focus on your most profitable items.  

By simplifying your offerings and having a message, you can focus on what items are most profitable.  Don't get lost in the overwhelm and mess of a complex business.  

Simplify Messaging
When products and offerings are complex or too varied it is difficult to have clear and simple messaging and marketing.  

Do you ever go to a restaurant that has a 10 page menu, plus daily and seasonal special? It can make the ordering process overwhelming and most likely you will walk away not knowing all that they offer.  

Or have you talked to a "marketing consultant"  and they offer copy writing, social media strategy, website design, PR help, and so on.  It is hard to know all the things they offer and even harder to know what they are really good at.  

By simplifying your business, your message become much simpler and therefore it is easier for you customer to remember.  

Why I love to simplify
When I owned the Coffee Roaster, we started out offering many products; coffee beverages, house roasted coffee, made to order food, scratch bakery, artisan cheese, beer and wine etc.  I call it retail ADD.

What should we say in our marketing?  We offer Coffee, Food, Drinks, Bakery and free wi-fi?   It was unclear what was leading.  Sometimes we tried to say it all, sometimes we lead with one thing but then no one knew of the other items we offered.

When training staff we wanted them to know about all that we offered.  Ugh.  It was overwhelming for them and not working for us.

I remember when a regular customer that had been coming in for over a year exclaimed "oh, I didn't realize you served food!"  

What? Think of all potential revenue lost because a current customer had no idea we served food!

We were trying to serve everyone, and get a piece of the pie from every possible customer.  But In the end, we were losing money because the cost to do it all was high and the systems were very inefficient.  

We had started simplifying and were left with coffee, bakery and food.  Since we were in a remote area with nowhere to buy wholesale scratch bakery, we decided that would stay, but food sales accounted for over 25% of our revenue.

It scared the shit out of me to just cut that.  But we knew that staffing the kitchen, food cost and high amount of waste were taking up too much time, effort and money.  

We decided to take the leap cut out made to order food.  Our intention was to replace it with increased sales from our core (and most profitable) product - coffee beans.   

So we created a very solid plan of how to cut out 25% of our revenue and replace it with coffee beans, thus simplifying our business and reinforcing a clear message of "we are a coffee roaster" 

The year we made that transition we actually GREW our overall revenue.  We were able to fully replace the food revenue with sales from whole bean and well as retail sales of branded merchandise.  

Our profitability soared, staffing costs went down and the whole business ran smoother. 

That decision trickled into so many areas of our business and helped simplify it in so many ways. Training, marketing, decision making, hiring.....everything was more streamlined because we focused on the coffee, our core product, and simplified the rest.  

The year after that, we grew the business by almost 50%.  That is the power of simplifying.

What do you offer in your business that is muddling the message?

Who may you be serving that is outside of your target market?  

What shiny things do you chase in the hope of more revenue?

Answer these questions and choose something you can do to simplify your business.

Commit to staying focused in simplicity and you will be able to leverage your time and processes to scale your business.  And that will help you grow revenue and profit. 

Stay tuned for part 2: Delegate!