Ever visited a home designed around the simple principles of minimalism? From the moment you enter the space, it’s obvious that something is different. Clutter is nearly nonexistent. The few knick knacks that made the cut actually have purpose. The space somehow seems bigger. When you’re in a place like this, you feel a sense of peace and satisfaction.
Imagine bringing that level of order, balance, and functionality to your small business
You can – and should – bring minimalism into your small business, whether you’re running it from your home or a brick and mortar location. It’s not that hard, you can start right now! Follow these principles to up your efficiency, boost productivity, decrease clutter, and cut time spent on looking for things. It make no sense to spend large amounts of time on efforts that aren’t bringing you significant returns. It’s simpler than you think to use a minimalism approach.
Clear the clutter with the SHED method
Start with an office-wide necessity audit. What’s there that doesn’t have to be? What’s there that shouldn’t be? What do you need, but don’t have a place for right now? Gather these items and sort them into piles. You might try the SHED method:
- Shred (items to destroy or trash)
- Hide (items you need, but that can be “hidden” with smarter storage)
- Elsewhere (items that can be placed out of your workspace)
- Donate (items you can give away or donate)
Increase efficiency with the Pareto Principle
Also known as the 80-20 rule, the Pareto Principle is a powerful staple in bringing minimalism into your small business. It states that on average, 20% of the tasks and effort you’re putting in are responsible for 80% of the results you get. Conversely, the other 80% of your efforts are essentially going to waste, bringing in only 20% of your results.
Your task: Identify the 20% of tasks that are bringing you 80% of your results – and figure out how to outsource, delegate, or altogether cut the 80% of tasks bringing you just 20% of your returns.
Amp up productivity by better utilizing Sunday nights
You know your own energy levels and productivity output better than anyone, so use that knowledge. Outline what you need to get done the upcoming week each Sunday night and set up days and time blocks for different tasks. You’ll have a more organized workflow – a basic principle of minimalism – and boost your overall productivity with this single action.
Why Sunday night? It helps give your upcoming week a sense of order and and enables you to develop expectations of what you’ll be working on each week. It also helps you be more purposeful in your work, sidestepping tasks you found to be under-serving your business by implementing the Pareto Principle. This eliminates guesswork and much of the anxiety that comes with running a business.
Move to remote and freelance teams
We mentioned that you should “figure out how to outsource, delegate, or altogether cut the 80% of tasks bringing you just 20% of your returns.” Some tasks can’t be eliminated entirely, but are still necessary for your business to run efficiently (administrative work and social media management are examples). In these cases, your quest to minimalism can best be supported by building out a remote team.
You have 3 basic options to do this:
- Hire full-time remote employees
- Hire short-term or long-term freelancers
- Outsource tasks to a trusted company
If you’re not financially ready to hire full-time remote employees, working with freelancers or outsourcing the work to another small company are perfectly viable options. Either option will help you make the most of your current office space (home or otherwise) by cutting the need for expensive overhead.
You’ll be able to track, engage, and delegate tasks to freelancers or outsourcing partners entirely online or over the phone. By utilizing project management software all forms and paperwork completed electronically and stored digitally, eliminating paper clutter in your workspace. Best of all, you can clear your plate by handing off necessary work that doesn’t require your direct involvement to qualified individuals.
By clearing workspace clutter, improving your processes, and cutting through the noise to expose what’s really working, you’ll be well on your way to working smarter without expending more effort than necessary. At the minimum, you’ll feel more focused as a business owner and experience a new level of clarity and success.
About the Author:
Debra Carpenter writes about small business, branding, and entrepreneurship for Forbes, HuffPost, and Business.com. She is the Marketing Director at FlashMarks, the simple DIY logo tool for small businesses.