Key to a Successful Business? Simplify, Simplify AND Simplify. Often entrepreneurs looking to scale a business end up making their ventures too complicated, resulting in a once successful company going down the drain. Here are a few insights on the importance of keeping it simple.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
While I will probably never invent the next groundbreaking, disruptive technology or be on Forbes' Billionaires List, I have made a decent life for myself being an entrepreneur. As the founder of PR-firm fifteen media, I can say the key to keeping a business going is: simplify, simplify AND simplify. You can never make it too easy for yourself and your customers.
Businesses that try to do too much are usually never successful, as they often stretch themselves too thin, lose focus or sight of their target audience.
Here are questions you can ask yourself to see if you are making things overly complicated:
Related: 7 Deadly Sins Businesses Make With Their Reputation
Can I say what my company does in 15 to 30 seconds? As a new business owner, you should be able to capture potential customers' attention in a very short amount of time. So, it is worthwhile to perfect your elevator pitch. To do this, you have to know what benefits you bring to the table in the eyes of your customers. The more convoluted you make it; the more likely people will tune you out and then you will get nowhere.
When I first started doing PR, I would ramble when someone asked me about my career. I realized that most of the time I lost people about 15 seconds into the conversation. So, now when people ask, I simply say, "I work exclusively with PR firms to get more media placements for their clients." Easy enough!
Related: Want to Simplify Life? Dare to Think Tiny
Who is my ideal customer? This is a business lesson I learned early on: You won't be a fit for everyone. For me, my ideal client is a boutique PR firm with between one and 10 employees. Since I know this, I try to cater all my services around this demographics' needs.
I would recommend sitting down and writing out the characteristics of your dream customer. Where do they live? What do they do? Where do they shop? Having a real mental image of the type of person you are going after, helps you to tighten up your services to include only necessities.
Am I really, really good at one thing? I have found that when businesses excel at one thing, they become way more irreplaceable. When you are only mediocre at a variety of tasks, it is easy to be replaced. However, if you are the best at one service, then people will keep coming back for your expertise. Plus, if you know your business is centered on doing one thing well, you will have the time to constantly be perfecting it.
What is the one outcome you're providing your customers? This is a lesson I learned from being in high school debate. When we built new cases we would start by coming up with one sentence that clearly stated what we had to prove to win the round. Then, we usually had three bullet points with supporting evidence. At the end of each point, we clearly showed the link back to our original arguement. I think of business the same way.
You can add new employees, services or strategies, but they should always go back to the initial reason that people are hiring you. Are you saving your clients money? Are you making their businesses more effective? Are you selling them helpful software? In my case, my one goal is to get media placements, and everything I do goes back to that.
Related: 25 Ways to Simplify Your Business