Minimalism in Business (Part 2)
Developing and building a business can be one of the most exciting things you do in life; think of the control, freedom and ability to work on something that will allow you to indulge in your passion, interests and skill set. You’ll meet other like minded individuals who also share your desire to do things on their own terms and being able to build your own small community of people who share similar goals, dreams and, let’s be honest, angst ridden moments is such a valuable support.
As discussed in my previous blog post on minimalism, it is possible to adopt a minimalist approach to your business even when you have to stock pile mountains of paper, leaflets, stock, material, display equipment etc, even premises. You may feel the urge to purchase everything that catches your eye, virtually seeing how they could provide benefit to your business and showcase your services, products and skills. But over time this can, and dare I say will, snowball into having collections of ‘one day’ items that are likely to sit on the shelf and gather dust whilst your interest and business senses are taken in another direction.
I hold my hands up, this is exactly what happened to me in my previous foray into self employment!
Adopting a minimalist approach to the physical items you may need for your business is the start of the process; the next stage is to re-evaluate your mindset to the thoughts and beliefs you may have towards the items themselves. And to be honest, even your view of your business in its entirety.
It’s an almost common truth in all sectors of business that what you imagined and dreamt about at the start of your journey is highly unlikely to be the business you find yourself running on a daily basis.
So I’ve bought together the considerations I asked and pondered to myself when trying to bring an element of minimalism into my business in order to maintain that passion, freedom and creativity within my own little venture bubble. And I found that the process of incorporating a minimalist approach to my thoughts and beliefs surrounding my business allowed me to work towards the goals I’d identified for my business, rather than being swayed by what I thought I should have been doing after reading countless blog posts, watching too many vlogs and trying to fit my own business into the formula of someone else's venture.
This is going to sound a little school-ish *sorry* but having a little routine for tasks, meetings, admin, finances and creative days really helped in getting everything completed in a timely and organised fashion. Certain days were blocked off for specific tasks so I knew what I needed to accomplish by the end of the day. And with it came a sense of achievement and relief, especially when I knew I had to complete a task that I didn’t feel any excitement for *ahem…. accounts.*
But the more time I gave myself to complete the tasks, the less I worried and agonised over them, as I knew that with each small step of working on it (inputting sales, income, PAYE etc etc) lead to a greater completion by the time I needed all of the information in an organised way (self assessment and Corporation Tax time).
And what I also realised over time was that I became so used to having blocked days for specific tasks alongside running the business, that it all meant that I wasn’t up at silly-o’clock or completing an all-nighter just to complete that really important task due by 9am the following morning.
Before you know it, the routine isn’t so laborious as you’d anticipated and you will find your feet in getting everything done with greater clarity of mind and a more relaxed perspective because you know that no matter what happens over the course of the day/ week/ month, you’ll always get the work completed *stress over.*
2. Keep and discard
Linking into point 1, the more you know your business and the jobs that need completing in order to build and develop over time, the more you’ll prioritise the most important tasks and spend less time on those which will just veer you off course... Netflix binge sessions anyone (I am more than guilty of this).
But it may become apparent that certain tasks may need a slightly more polished and professional hand to complete; something you may not be able to provide to your business at the time.
Some tasks may be better off being done by an expert, i.e, Accountant (I keep coming back to accounts but this was truly my least favourite part of running a business!! Completely necessary but my goodness, what a slog!) or employing a Virtual Assistant on a freelance basis to complete the admin roles that take up time that may be better utilised to develop your creative side and products.
This will come with time, but identifying what you’re good at and the tasks that someone else may be better suited to complete will definitely give you a clearer headspace and mindset to focus on the things that will help to build your business.
And never think that this is a waste of time... think of the time you'll SAVE by employing someone else's services to get your tasks completed instead of you trying to get stuck in, having to do mountains of research, possibly buying certain software and then having panic attacks when it just doesn't seem to work properly. And ultimately off-loading said work to someone else at a later date anyway.
One thing to remember too: you may be offering other people your services and products that you know you can do with ease, perfection and professionalism; try to extend that mindset to the tasks you know you'll struggle with.
3. Back up
This goes without saying but back EVERYTHING up if you can. All computer and virtual work will definitely benefit from being stored on an external hard-drive or elsewhere other than in one one place (i.e, your computer). Imagine losing all of your work, illustrations, product ideas, personal details of employees, passwords for all software packages…. so much information is stored on our computer, laptops, notebooks etc. Making it a non negotiable task to back up and save your documents on another device or external storage will most definitely help you keep your cool, head and sanity should you open up your computer and realise everything has been wiped from it.
Tears may fall, anger may be demonstrated in all manner of ways but knowing the same information can be easily accessed somewhere else will give you such peace of mind, especially required at the time when you probably need to have a clear head to sort out an errant computer and increase your security firewalls.
It's all about making sure you give yourself the freedom to devote time doing what you want and need to do in order to make your business thrive rather than waste valuable time in re-doing tasks that you had previously completed but the efforts are now lost in the ether.
4. Revisit goals
This can be quite a glib thing to say but this doesn't have to be as formal or serious as it’s made out to be. Think about where you started at the beginning of your journey, refocus on your goals (all the better if you noted these down somewhere) and the steps you planned on taking to get you to the next level, and give yourself plenty of time to reflect on A. whether you’re where you want to be at this point in your business and B. the steps ahead of you to continue building your venture.
You may conclude that you are nowhere near to where you want to be, or your original ideas and goals are so far removed from where you are now that you could be reviewing someone else’s business; that’s all fine. It’s better to work all of this out on a regular basis rather than sit back a year down the line and wonder what the Hell you’ve been doing for the past 12 months!
Having an idea of the goals you want to achieve, whether these are product or service related, hiring employees, getting into a routine (see point 1) or setting yourself some financial goals, really gives you something tangible to work towards.
Be creative with your goals, visualise them in creative ways that mean something to you, grab some paper and coloured pens and go to town on making your goals as sparkly and engaging to look at as they are in your mind. By putting ideas onto paper, you’re giving them a presence, something that you and others can pick up, look at and ask “so, shouldn’t you be selling your art in the local gallery by now?”
This is something I talk about in my free e-book on overcoming fear based thoughts - take a look!
From my experience in running my own business, nothing ever stays the same and it’s necessary to re-evaluate whether the goals you’re looking at correlate to the tangible business you have before you. And by being clear on whether your goals are true and relevant to your business, your mindset and ability to work on what’s important will help you move towards building the business you want.
Think to yourself: “is this still relevant to how I want to develop?” “will this goal impact upon my business in a positive way?” and “what other steps do I
need to take to make this a reality?”
Having a clear mind on what you want to achieve and how these will happen for you means that your mind isn’t getting cluttered with irrelevant information that is so easy to sway you off course.
Do you have any hints and tips that help you in achieving a minimalist mindset approach to your business?