Running a business, raising a family, and carving out a little time for yourself is a careful balancing act. We all figure out the life hacks that lighten the load of our myriad responsibilities. When it comes to business, we need methods that simplify without cutting corners.
Keep all your plates spinning with no-nonsense strategies for spending less time and energy on your business while still giving your clients one hundred percent.
Have No Fear, Simplicity is Good
If you start feeling a little panicky at the prospect of letting go of some responsibility, you’re not alone. While it is normal to become attached to your projects and to feel validated by spending too much time working, it isn’t helpful to your business, yourself, or your family. If you have employees, get them involved in reviewing all projects. This will help you get an objective perspective about what projects could be changed or scrapped. If you’re a sole proprietor, clearly identify your goals, then sort your projects and responsibilities by whether they are working toward your goal or getting in the way. The first step in simplifying is to get rid of everything you don’t need.
Automate Everything You Can
Sometimes setting tasks on autopilot can backfire. Social media is one place you must engage in real-time interactions with your clients. Social channels are increasingly becoming a primary means of contact for customers, so give them the attention they deserve. Pitches and follow-ups should also come from you (or at least a very well-segmented email list) to avoid targeting the wrong people.
What can you automate without annoying your clients? Start by addressing the simple, repetitive tasks, such as bill paying and ordering. Automate contact forms to add new contacts and notify you or the appropriate department. Client account updates, employee scheduling, A/B email testing and everything you want your people to access immediately can be fully or partially automated.
Get Online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Project Management in One
If you’re using two or more programs to manage contacts and projects, you’re probably wasting time and money. Find a tool that lets you do both, complete with all the tools you need for both CRM and project management. Insightly, for example, allows you to establish links between projects and contacts. Plus, Insightly’s new user interface brings linking front and center, so you can create connections between items even faster.
Ensure projects are flowing smoothly with a project management system all your people can use. You won’t have to waste time asking for updates on the progress of a particular task when you can simply pop into a project from the Web and see where it’s at.
Cultivate a Minimalist Culture
At work and at home, you can keep things simple by learning to look at everything from a minimalist perspective and encouraging those around you to do the same. The goal is to reduce all the various kinds of clutter in your life. Whether streamlining business processes, digitizing old paper files, or finding a way to say goodbye to great-grandma’s knickknacks, you work to minimize the stuff taking up space in your life. In business, some of the best ways to approach minimalism are to limit social networking, use the phone rather than email when it makes sense, and spend wisely on business tools. Essentially, consumption doesn’t guarantee success, but it will take your time and money if it gets out of control.
You don’t want to trade the quality of your business for the illusion of simplicity. Every change you make requires careful consideration of all its potential consequences, intentional or not, for you, your family, employees, and clients. While you may find obstacles, it is possible to simplify in a way that works for your business and your lifestyle.
Diana Dohertyis a freelance writer specializing in SEO content, and is a contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. She loves all things tech, photography, craft, military family life, and business. She earned her BA in English Writing Arts from SUNY Oswego.