The Minimalist Business
I’ve been reading and watching a lot about minimalist lifestyles recently.
I find this concept very appealing – casting off the excess – and only having what you actually really need for an enjoyable life. I certainly enjoy things, my musical instruments, my tin toy collections, cook books and so forth. But really a lot of the stuff I’ve accumulated doesn’t serve a purpose in my day to day life.
In the documentary – “The Minimalists” – the founders do a road show around America talking about their passion for the minimalist lifestyle – and along the way they profile individuals, families and couples who’ve decluttered their lives, jumped off the ‘instant and disposable consumer bandwagon’, including having smaller homes, less stuff in their homes, every possession defined by the purpose it serves.
So I started thinking about this concept in the context of business. I realised that many of the businesses we’ve worked with over the years are a bit like our homes and lives – they are cluttered up, they have processes, systems, staff and expenses that perhaps aren’t fulfilling a strong enough purpose or generating enough return on the investment in them.
There are plenty of brands very happy to convince business owners they need this thing, this piece of SAAS(software as a service), or whatever.
The owners or shareholders of a business want to be bigger, so they grow, and along the way they collect things, and buy things, and invest in things. And not all of them work, or add value to the business.
I recently conducted an audit of the software, things and systems we have in our two businesses. I also recently moved from a 100m2 office to a desk and a chair in our apartment – as I’m often out in client meetings and delivering presentations I realised I actually didn’t need the office.
So in this article, I’m asking you the following questions of your business:
- What things are you paying for that actually would be better outsourced or cancelled – which subscription software aren’t you really using?
- Which staff are fully on purpose in their role and adding significant value to your business – do you have too many or too many in the wrong roles or too many who need training to fully benefit your business?
- What systems are you using that could be refined to deliver a better outcome with a lower time or money investment?
- Could you invest in some new software that actually helps you run a more efficient business?
- What clients are you spending a lot of time on who aren’t necessarily the right client for your business?
I really like this idea of a minimalist business, a more efficient business getting better results with less resources, a smaller richer business. Yes growth is nice, and more profit is nice, but bigger doesn’t always mean better.
It’s a crazy duality that America is one of the largest consumer markets in the world, and also has the highest square metreage of storage units for excess good on the planet.
I think our businesses could do with a spring clean and a little of the minimalist attitude to achieve more with less, and perhaps be a bit happier along the way too.
What do you think?