4 tips for running a minimalist business

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For most businesses, growth comes with bloat. As the business grows, there’s an uptick in overhead, resources, expenses, and human capital. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What is minimalism in business?

The minimalist lifestyle has been somewhat glamorized over the past several years. Netflix documentaries, books, and popular blogs have given it a certain amount of “sex appeal” in a chaotic and overwhelmed world. But the notion of what it means to be a minimalist is often skewed.

Minimalism is not about owning nothing, wanting nothing, or doing nothing. Rather it’s the idea that nothing should own you. It’s about being focused, eliminating the superfluous, and only spending time and energy on the things that matter.

In a business sense, being a minimalist is all about maximizing your time. It’s about clearing your schedule, streamlining processes, and recognizing there’s more to life than your business.

As one entrepreneur puts it, “Minimalism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and doing only what is essential.”

The objective is to strip your business down to the essential tasks and to eliminate anything that doesn’t have a significant impact on output, results, or the bottom line. It’s about finding the 20 percent of tasks that produce 80 percent of the results.

4 tips to run a minimalist business

You’ll have to determine your specific needs and what areas of management and operations need the most attention. However, here are a few simple tips you can implement right away to simplify and minimize how you run your business.

1. Use the right software

Technology can either hinder or help your efforts to transform your business. For a lot of business owners, it’s the former.

The goal of technology is not to implement every solution, app, or tool you can find – even if they promise enormous benefits. Instead, you must focus on attaching your business to the right software.

The right software consists of tools that (a) perform multiple functions and (b) fully integrate with your existing technology stack for smooth interoperability. If an application can only perform one function and/or isn’t able to communicate with your other tools, then it’s probably not worth your time. It’ll only complicate and confuse.

FinancialForce is a great example of a tool that simplifies things. It’s an ERP solution that integrates with Salesforce to unify the front office and back office. This creates the feeling of having everyone on the same page, rather than having one group working on one aspect of the business and another group working on a totally different aspect.

2. Keep everything in the cloud

Today’s minimalist businesses have shucked the physical for the digital. More specifically, they’ve transitioned everything into the cloud. And if you want to run a minimalist business, you must do the same.

One of the biggest benefits of running your business in the cloud is accessibility. You’re no longer restricted to going into the office or using a specific device. You can run your business from anywhere using any device at any time.

3. Outsource rather than hire

Avoid letting your overhead become too bloated. Keep finances simple and put yourself in a flexible position where you can expand, contract, and scale at a moment’s notice. One way to do this is by outsourcing rather than hiring full-time.

It’s okay to have a few employees on your team (particularly in areas where you need full-time help). However, in areas where demand goes up and down, outsourcing is a better option. It prevents your overhead from getting bloated.

4. Set strict hours

Remember what we said at the beginning of this article. (Being a minimalist is all about maximizing your time. It’s about clearing your schedule, streamlining processes, and recognizing that there’s more to life than your business.) If you’re working 60-hour weeks from dawn to dusk, you’re missing the point. It’s time to regain control over your schedule.

If you’re like most business owners, you could work all day, every day, and still have stuff to do. So the key to freeing up your schedule is to set strict work hours and to abide by them. If your hours are eight to five, make sure you always clock out right at five. Pretend like you’re an employee and your boss refuses to pay you after hours.

Adding it all up

It’s time to stop assuming more is always better. When it comes to business, working longer hours isn’t a badge of honor – it’s a sign that you haven’t done a good job of streamlining your processes and optimizing your inputs. But if you implement the tips mentioned in this article, one thing is for certain: You’ll find yourself with more space to breathe – metaphorically and perhaps physically. The time for letting others dictate how your business is run is over. Now’s the time to get serious about running things your way.

Story by Darren Wilson

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