Simplicity & Flexibility: The Traits Of ‘Start Up Culture’ That Lead To SuccessSamantha Cordero
When we dive into time management strategies, productivity hacks, project management, and all the things that we feel we must master on our path toward business success, it can easily feel like we need more structure, more habits, more discipline…more, more, more.
Though, in the spirit of embracing cliches, sometimes more isn’t really more. Unless you’re okay with feeling more overwhelmed, more stressed, and more like you’re doing something wrong. What I think a lot of us really need is a mindset of simplicity and flexibility.
These are actually the core traits of a ‘startup culture’ that many big companies strive for. They want to be able to pivot and adapt without red tape. They want to be able to keep costs lean. They want to be able to minimize errors and risk while maximizing what makes them money.
And the key to achieving these and all the wonderful revenue benefits and competitive edge that comes with it is embracing simplicity and flexibility.
The Myth of Complexity
Have you ever seen an Instagram reel or YouTube skit making fun of people that are trying to sound insightful and almost poetic but really aren’t saying anything of meaning? It usually ends up with a 10-minute spiel about something philosophical or skirting around psychology without any real points or data. You don’t want your business model or processes to be seen in a similar light (not that we’ll air all your dirty laundry on social media).
Humans naturally crave complexity because it allows us to view something as superior and simple things as boring, less than, and even possibly suspicious. But this thought process limits the amount of efficiency we can actually introduce in our business. Process efficiency comes from simplicity – and it’s something a lot of employees crave. Over complicated processes could include excessive approvals or sign-offs to move things forward, redundant data entry, or convoluted communication channels, and micromanagement.
All of this can lead to increased stress, reduced productivity, demoralized employees, and a lack of ability to pivot and adapt.
Simplicity in business doesn’t mean we’re cutting corners or limiting our opportunities. Instead we’re finding the most logical, least-headache inducing way of getting something done without sacrificing quality. Actually, simplicity in your business operations can often lead to improved quality and an improved reputation.
Here’s what you can do:
- Clarity Over Confusion: I’ve previously written about how communication is honestly the key to anything you want to achieve in your business. Every aspect of your workflows should be clear (make sense) and then be clearly communicated. We want our processes to be transparent and easily understood.
- Efficiency Without Excess: We want to limit redundant tasks and tasks that don’t provide value – these are tasks that aren’t aligned with out Voice Of The Customer (whether external or internal). Each step in a process should play a role in achieving the end result.
- Eliminating Unnecessary Overhead: From software to staff, you want to ensure your resources are properly allocated and each expense makes sense. Even with your own time – if you’re the owner, CEO, or manager, then you’re time (from a profit and loss perspective) is more valuable than lower-level employees. If you’re taking on too many administrative or lower level tasks, then you’re spending less time on high-value or revenue generating tasks. Consider outsourcing some of these tasks to a virtual assistant!
Simplicity leads to improved clarity about what matters and what you should be focused on, faster (and smarter) decision making, reduced stress, and improved client satisfaction.
The Role of Flexibility
Being flexible means you’re able to quickly adapt and effectively implement changes that better your business. During the pandemic and in quarters following it, we saw a plethora of content focused on “the new norm”. And that kept changing. In fact, the new norm might just be that change is always happening and is happening quickly.
If your team isn’t flexible then you’re unable to meet new market demands and customer expectations in a timely manner which ultimately means you’re missing out on opportunities. Now, I’m not advocating for you to introduce constant change. There’s a big difference between the willy-nilly-ness and confusion of constant change and the efficiency and effectiveness of continuous improvement.
If you’re flexible, you’re able to:
- Make small changes to processes quickly and easily and see positive results (to the right changes)
- Respond to changing client needs without having to rebuild all of your processes or stress out your team
- Minimize risk and pivot when it makes sense to avoid delays, errors, and wasteful expenses
Moving Forward, Simply
In our relentless pursuit of business success, we often find ourselves immersed in time management strategies, productivity hacks, and the relentless pursuit of structure, discipline, and more. The belief that “more is better” can lead to a never-ending cycle of increased complexity, overcommitment, and, ironically, a sense that something is amiss.
Instead of adding more layers to your processes, more rules to your policies, and more complexity overall to your operations, consider opting for simplicity and flexibility. Look at your processes and ask yourself, “Is this necessary? Can we do this more simply? Are we flexible enough to adapt if needed?”
By doing so, you might find you’re able to bring more structure, more efficiency, and ultimately more success to your business.