Most business owners agree that complexity has a negative impact on both productivity and workplace morale. Also, if you look at the most successful business owners, you’ll realize that they always focus on a few crucial business fundamentals.

Building a successful business is about keeping things simple. While we think we can do many things at once, we can’t. And crowding your mind with unrealistic tasks will only confuse you, forcing you to make rash decisions, lack focus, and produce poor quality outcomes.

It’s therefore crucial for a business owner and leader to focus on key areas — areas that are focused on the business growth and market dominance. However, this doesn’t mean you overlook other areas of the company, but your attention and your time should always be on a few crucial and practical pursuits, which are ultimately your company’s building blocks.

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Having said that, knowing what to focus on and how to simplify your tasks can be a dilemma. But here is a simple five-step simplification guideline that will help you be more productive:

#1. Clear the Underbrush 

One of the easiest ways to start the simplification is by getting rid of unnecessary rules, low-value activities, and time wasters that are common in most companies. For instance, start by figuring out how many people need to review and sign off on expense reports, or how many reports need to be reviewed before they’re presented. By reducing a few simple and repetitive tasks, you’ll have more time to focus on crucial tasks.

#2. Adopt an Outside-In Perspective  

We talked about this in the last article and it's worth mentioning again. The need to offer more value to your customers should guide your business simplification. To achieve this, proactively clarify what your customers really need and what you can do to meet their needs. 

#3. Prioritize  

To simplify your business activities and tasks, you have to establish what’s really important and what’s not. In addition, you need to continually reassess the priority as new things come up.

#4. Always Try to Take the Shortest Path  

Once you establish that you’re working on the right things, remove the extra steps in the core processes. Root out all the extraneous loops, redundancies, and unnecessary opportunities to make your processes as lean as possible.

#5. Reduce Levels and Increase Spans 

One cause of complexity is the tendency to add layers of management that results in managers often supervising one or two people. This makes managers feel the need to add value by questioning everything their subordinates do; this results in more work and it lowers employees’ morale. To get rid of this form of complexity, stop micromanaging. Look at the company’s structure, remove unnecessary levels and increase spans of control.

Make it look simple by picking the three most important things you need to focus on if you want to build a successful business. Remember, just because everything is simplified, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Not by a long shot. It takes hard work and your mind will work non-stop as you try to bring your company to perfection. 

Next time, we're going to give tips on how to reduce any redundant activities in your business processes.

Until then,

Anna