Do Less: The Power of Simplicity

Author and speaker John C. Maxwell once said, “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”

Wise words indeed.

As entrepreneurs, we are often attracted to novelty, to opportunity. We are not afraid to take risks, to try new things out. But the problem is, this trait can sometimes get the better of us, scattering our energy and decreasing our effectiveness.

There is only so much time in one day, and as you know first-hand, for things to really be successful, you need to put in a lot of work. There are no shortcuts, Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Workweek premise to the contrary notwithstanding.

Business consultant Alan Weiss points out that “Time is the great equalizer.” Everyone has the same amount of time in their day, rich and poor alike. It’s what you do in that time that makes all the difference.

What can you stop doing?

And thus, it behooves us to examine just how much of our time is being spent on how many things. We can invoke the famous 80/20 principle: 80% of things will suck up 80% of our time. And 20% of things will give us 80% of the profit. Often, ironically those two are not related.

So take a look at your business, and ask yourself “how can I simplify? What products could I cut that would free up my time but leave very little effect my bottom line?”

The truth is, your customers will actually prefer it. Studies have shown that people like choice, but not too much choice. Too much choice can lead to analysis paralysis and buyer’s remorse. It seems like three options is a good rule of thumb.

And so, what would happen if you counter-intuitively stopped to take a look and say “what can I stop offering my customers?” If nothing else, it’s an interesting mental exercise that will help you hone in on your most profitable products and activities, and help you identify any black holes in your business that are sapping your time and resources.

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