An increasing number of business leaders are actively adopting minimalist practices in order to achieve their goals – both professionally and personally.
WarningMinimalism isn’t just for people who want to live out of a backpack or cram their life into a tiny house. The ideas of being minimal can also easily apply to business.
Minimalism is a mindset rather than a blind purge. If something is useful or pleasurable, you keep it. If it’s not, then you consider scrapping it.
It’s a pursuit of freedom derived from simplicity.
And since we often start businesses chasing freedom, it seems a pretty good area to apply it. It’s far more than just throwing away tangible items you don’t really need, but that’s a good place for most people to start which is why it often begins (and potentially ends) there.
No wonder minimalism is experiencing such huge popularity. The more our lives are cluttered with information, gadgets, options, the more we want an escape.
More and more businesses are finding themselves in a common trap – putting quantity over quality. With an increase in pressure to perform, entrepreneurs take on the notion that if they do not take on more tasks, then their business will fall short.
ImportantBut, contrary to this belief, increasing the number of tasks you perform won’t necessarily impact your business for the better, but rather, the opposite. Sometimes you just need to practice “business minimalism” in order to achieve your goals.
By focusing on less, both your lifestyle and business can thrive.
If you’re ready to simplify things and start living minimally, here are some tips you can follow.
Back to Essentials
Minimalism is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. If you want a bigger paycheck to “keep up with the Joneses” or to be able to flash your new Mercedes on Instagram, then you’re missing the point.
Focus on the things only you can do, create systems for the rest.
ImportantIn order to maximize your time freedom as an entrepreneur, you must focus on doing the things only you can do, then create systems for everything else.
These days entrepreneurs are finding themselves with jam-packed schedules, an abundance of tasks to accomplish, and very little time to spare.
WarningMinimalism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and doing only what is essential.
By investing in systems that will help your business run itself, you’ll free up more of your time for the things that really matter.
A common mistake many entrepreneurs make is making their business plan too complicated. By adopting a minimalist strategy, entrepreneurs more equipped to achieve their goals as they are more focused on fewer tasks.
Keep in mind; simplicity is key! You don’t want to overwhelm yourself and your employees by having too much to accomplish. Strip your business tasks down to what is essential and eliminate the small tasks that distract you from your goal.
HackWith apps such as Evernote, you can tackle a never-ending to-do list. Using an app such as this, or another similar platform is the perfect way to organize your tasks and stay on top of the essential elements of your business.
Minimalism is About Purpose
The way you find what really matters and what doesn’t is to focus on purpose—what can be called the “Big Why.” If you set out to create a company, you must understand why you personally care, and why others truly need your product or service—the real and unique value you provide.
Less is More
One of the smartest things you should ask ourselves in your business is question if “more” is actually better. Which is the complete opposite approach taken by startups and corporations.
WarningSuch businesses tend to see growth as the chief indicator of success. More customers is a win! Higher revenue is a win! Greater exposure is a win! And sure, they can be, but not always. And definitely not always when blindly obtained.
Sometimes more customers mean much more customer support. Sometimes more revenue comes at the price of higher investments and expenses (netting less profit in spite of more revenue).
Thinking small can play a pivotal role in how an organisation is run.
Put simply, bigger business can involve bigger risk. A higher profile inevitably leads to more exposure – which is not always a positive thing.
The point of minimalism is that more isn’t always better. Sometimes more simply means larger. Sometimes enough is better.
ImportantThe decision about what is enough comes down to one’s own vision and definition of success. Going about perfecting your offer rather than enlarging can provide greater satisfaction, all the while creating a better work-life balance, which feeds back into the process of continual improvement.
Define Your Own Success
Everybody has their own definition of success, but when it comes to running a business, people often think that success is money. When taking a minimalistic approach, you should define your own success, whether that be more time to spend with family, less time in meetings, or anything else. Defining your own success lets you sharpen your goals and focus, cutting out things that don’t matter as much.
Work With What You’ve Got
Minimalists, like MacGyver, work with the tools they’ve got. They don’t spend a ton of time or money on acquiring or building new tools. Another benefit of applying minimalist principles to business is the way in which it encourages greater ingenuity and resourcefulness.
ImportantFor example, a programmer isn’t a great programmer because she uses the latest frameworks. He’s a great programmer because he understands how to use code to accomplish tasks. He could change computers or frameworks and still be a great coder.
Minimalist businesses aren’t great businesses because of the tools, they’re great businesses because their owners know how to use the tools they’ve got.
Tools don’t matter. Building skill matters more.
This leads to creativity – in that you are forced to come up with creative ways to use what you’ve got at hand. The best tool for your work is the one you’re using right now, to make your art. If it’s not working, find another.
HackI recently watched the film ‘Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things’ by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They explore the concept of minimalism, which is the intentional practice of living with less “stuff.”
There are certain tools available nowadays that pair well with the minimalist model. Storing everything on the cloud, for example, eliminates the need for space-wasting, time-guzzling data storage – whether paper or digital. Business operations become smoother and more efficient, while greater freedom is created for both employees and the company itself.
Get Straight to The Point
One of the biggest burdens of an entrepreneur is all of the choices. Those running minimalist businesses are experts at getting straight to the point. Quickly. Especially when it comes to making money.
ImportantBecome more assertive and decisive. When it comes to making choices, it’s easy to get hung up on small decisions. By being more assertive and decisive, you can quickly determine which decisions won’t affect your company long-term and make a call and move on, but when you come to the bigger decisions, you’ll have the time and energy to give it the thought that it needs before making a final call.
Clarity through action. With a world of options you could spend the rest of your life looking. Do some research, cap your time, and then make a decision.
Minimalism means freeing yourself from the burden of difficult decisions by making each choice as simple as possible. By being more deliberate with the choices we make, we experience less decision fatigue and have more mental energy to dedicate to things we enjoy.
Make decisions that count. Don’t follow the crowd by making impulsive business decisions and responding to everything that comes your way. Be less reactive. Try making fewer decisions – ones that count – and taking a more patient approach.
WarningDon’t forget, slow and steady wins the race. A focused, well thought out approach to business is the perfect strategy to making it big.
Start Small, Think Big
The typical way to run a business is that you start by getting an investment then work hard and in secret for a long time to create a perfect product. Whereas taking the opposite approach can work just as well, if not more effectively. By starting small, and moving quickly, you can adapt to the market. Whereas starting big, and moving slowly means you’re running on guesses and throwing a lot of time and work at something that may or may not work out in the end.
Minimalism prompts us to reevaluate our lives and what they contain. Minimalism refocuses resources towards the most significant areas of a business, removing unnecessary processes and products.
Growth isn’t inherently evil, but it comes at a price.
ImportantRunning a minimalist business is more about creating freedom than profits. Sometimes the price makes sense to pay, and sometimes you’re better off sticking with what you’ve got.
You should make minimalism a habit in your business. It’s not a one-time project. You have to build on it and make it your company’s culture.
Having the ambition to try and excel is great, but learning to direct that ambition into your strengths is the key to success. Try to incorporate strategies such as minimalism and remember to think before you act. You’ll find that you’re doing less, but accomplishing the right tasks that will efficiently grow your business.
Ultimately, minimalism creates space for the freedom we need to become the best we can be.
Instead of spreading resources thinly and to no great avail, organisations can use the time and money they have freed to improve – and make the most of – what they do have.
HackI have previously written a book review on The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, meant for those who want to achieve extraordinary results in any field.
What will you do to be a more minimalistic entrepreneur? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the matter. Leave a comment below and let me know your take.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.