Minimalism in Business (Part 1)
If you're a regular reader of my blog posts, you’ll know that I regularly lament the fact that life appears to be getting busier as the years go by and rather than being seen as an alarm call that it maybe in our best interests to slow down and relook at how we’re living our lives, it seems as though the reverse is in fact true; we’re applauded for the lack of time we possess to just carry out the basics in our lives on a daily basis.
And if you actively have time on your hands… well, is there a tiny assumption that you may be slightly lazy? And that you ‘should’ be spending your time engaging in pursuits that will fill this empty void? Or that you’re one of the lucky few who is financially fulfilled and stable in order to have free time.
So it seems quite apt that there seems to be a move towards the concept and practise of minimalism within our lives. In the general sense minimalism is all about getting rid of what clutters your life, and keeping hold of the few items that mean something to you, bringing you increased peace, contentment and the ability to focus on what truly matters to you rather than what is expected of you.
Have you heard the saying “tidy house, tidy mind?’ Well, I’m a definite convert to this way of thinking; at first I didn’t realise that my most productive days and work that I was proud of was when the area around me was clutter free and tidy but it’s true.
In fact I recall walking into my room when I lived in halls of residence room whilst in my first year at university and the lady who was our allocated cleaner was stood in my room wondering whether anyone actually lived there as it was sparsely furnished and decorated. I guess she was used to clothes lying around, empty cans, crumpled wrappers and goodness knows what else in others rooms and so my room was the exception. It was also SO much easier to pack up at the end of the year too. Without realising it I’d probably adopted a minimal approach to my own items and decoration without intending to.
But back to the point of the post, there’s so much out there about creating a minimalist lifestyle and working towards peace, fulfilment and contentment through less possessions.
But I wondered whether this can be done when you run your own business; can you truly build and develop a minimalist business?
I guess it comes to 2 main areas when approaching this subject from a lifestyle business point of view; the items/ props/ products you need to keep your business going and your mindset and beliefs underpinning your business.
So I’m going to break it down; this post will focus on the actual items you need, or think you need, for your business, and there’ll be another post on the minimalism mindset you can adopt when focussing on building your venture.
As you may also know from a snippet of my story blog post and my About Me page, The Creative Revival isn’t my first venture into self employment. I built and developed a lovely little wine and spirits business.
And I can tell you, the amount of display items, equipment, signs and storage we needed just for the events and our bijou shop was terrifying. When we decided to close the business down I was shocked by the amount of, dare I say, crap we had accumulated over the years, and then boxed up and placed in storage ‘just in case’ we needed it again. Some items we never used!! Others were used once or twice before they had served their purpose and they were relegated to the back to the cupboard. Very few items were used on a regular basis.
And don’t get me started on the reams of coloured paper, foam boards, craft items, mini shelving units, furniture that we acquired over the years…. *pulls hair out.*
Now I know that running your own business means that you need to get out there to promote what you do, and a good way of doing this is at events, gatherings and markets which is why I collated my experiences and tips into this mini series on marketing yourself at events (parts 1, 2 and 3).
But when it comes to minimising the items you truly need for your business, there are a few questions and considerations that may help you to zone into what you really need (necessity) rather than what you want (distractions).
1. Ask yourself “do I really need this for my business?
Or are you looking at the item in your hand through rose tinted glasses with a hope that you can incorporate it into what you do but you’re not sure. Or maybe it’s too good a bargain to miss out on and you may need at some point. Save your pennies and only buy what you need to keep the business going forward.
2. Reuse and recycle
So many items can be used repeatedly but through different guises; is there anything you can re-use which keeps your business on brand and customers recognise as being a logo/ representation of your venture?
Some items may get damaged beyond repair, other may just need a little lick of paint to get them back to their glory days. If you can, put some love back into the items, give a little TLC and see what you can do with a little imagination and a few hours on Pinterest to gain inspiration.
If you really do need to purchase display items or marketing materials; can these be used in different ways? Can your leaflets be modified as little banners? Are you able to use your items in more than one way? Can display items double up as storage spaces when in transit?
5. Borrow and loan
Sometimes it’s worth seeing if you can borrow or loan a specific item from someone else rather than investing in the item yourself, especially if you’re not too sure how much wear you’ll get out of it afterwards.
6. Label and record
Box things up and label them, keep a record of what you actually have and for what purpose. In summary, just remember what you have. At the close of my previous business I opened up boxes which looked vaguely familiar but which stored items that I had re-purchased later on without thinking, all in a frenzy of excitement and planning for events and launches.
There’s so much information on living a minimalist lifestyle and so much of what it covers can also apply to building your business; all it takes is a little more thought and consideration but by being vigilant on how you want to market and the visual props that will help you stand out in the crowd, you can incorporate the values of minimalism into all aspects of your business.
And less to pack, tidy and clean is always a good thing in my eyes!
Do you have any hints and tips that help you in achieving a minimalist approach in your business?