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Our business can get complicated if we let it. And a complicated business quickly becomes stressful and eats away at your time. We can lose track of what we need to get done in a day, or even in a year. Before you know it, you’re too busy putting out fires to get any real work done

The good news is, if we learn to simplify our businesses, we can regain control of it. It sounds too good to be true, but you’d be surprised the snowball effect a few small solutions can have.

So how do we simplify it? Follow these 7 strategies to simply “Simplify” your business!

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1. Streamline your procedures

If you have any employees doing the same task but in a different way, that is a sure sign you need to streamline your processes. Have your team collaborate on how they perform a certain duties, and ask them to create a simpler and speedier process. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with!

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2. Use technology where you can

If you are doing anything by hand such as scheduling jobs and/or employees, sending invoices, writing cheques, writing change orders, writing purchase orders, or counting inventory – all of this can be done more efficiently and effective with technology.

There are dozens of apps and computer software programs that can help you with all of this. Do some research to see what’s out there and how it can help. Switching to the appropriate technology will save you time and help you simplify. I’ve seen companies go from 7 different people having to double-check a single invoice to the invoice being entered into the system and it never having to touch another person because the system does the double-checking for you!

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3. Create systems

Having systems written down will help increase efficiency and reduce stress for everyone. Cut down on employee down time by creating written systems for “what needs to get done when”. On a slow day, owners are driven crazy when employees sit and do nothing to pass the time until things pick up. If you have systems written down, employees can spend time learning in their down time to increase efficiency later when it’s busy.

You can also have them brainstorm what they’d like to learn, and when they have down-time, get them to watch webinars or enroll in on-line learning to help them hone a skill they need. Or, if you have a lot of software, get them to learn more about it via the online videos that most software have available.

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4. Micro-plan – 10 minutes a day

What do you do when you are so slammed no one has time for anything? This is the time you need to simplify things the most. Take 10 minutes a day to plan first thing in the morning what needs to get done. This 10 minutes will save 10 hours in the long run. PLUS, it gives everyone peace of mind that they are working on the right things and nothing is falling through the cracks.

Look at the tasks at hand, ensure every task is being looked after without any duplication, and believe it or not, it all will get done without the urgency and chaos that usually ensues when things are crazy busy!

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5. Create a very simple action list

Make a “Who, Does What, By When” list when working on big projects. Ensure a list of everything that needs to get done is made, then assign or have someone assign each task with a deadline. Then ensure the people are aware of the deadline and get the task done on time – in other words, hold them accountable. This simple list will become your best friend when you need to ensure a project gets done on time!

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6. Macro-plan – Map out 3 months

Organize the next 3 months of work on a calendar. This helps you zoom out. You’ll see what needs to get done by when. You’ll see if it can all actually fit. Or you’ll see if you need to pursue more work to keep your team busy or reach revenue goals. Seeing things at a glance on a calendar can help streamline all of the above tasks as well.

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7. Delegate, then let your team work

Sometimes it’s hard to delegate work and let go. Let your team figure things out when they need to. When we delegate a task and then “micromanage” it, we may as well do it ourselves. We are not saving our own time. We also communicate to our team that we don’t trust them to handle it themselves. No one wins.

Once you train them how to do a task, you shouldn’t need to constantly look over your shoulder to see if they are doing it “right”. The point of delegating is to take the task off your plate, not add more by worrying about whether it is getting done. Assign it, remind them of the deadline, and then hold them accountable on the deadline. Encourage them to come to you if they get stuck, but otherwise, let them soar. Often they surprise you at how well they can do the task after all.

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Simplify Your Business and Avoid the “Busy” Trap

These are just a few ways to simplify and get things done faster and in a more effective and efficient way. When we coast through the day to day work without being proactive with a little bit of planning and making each task simpler, then we get stuck with inefficiencies that cost us time and money.

Don’t get caught in the “Busy” trap. Everyone is busy. We use being busy as an excuse not to look for different and better ways to do things. Instead, become curious. Each week, find one thing to work on that you believe is not getting done correctly, or has things falling through the cracks from time to time.

It’s amazing how much better things become, how much simpler things can be, and how this small amount of extra planning saves time and makes you more effective in the long run!

Need help simplifying your business? Contact us and let’s have a conversation about how business coaching can streamline your work.

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Cindy Piva is Founder and President of Thrive Business Strategies.