Starting a business today is easier than it has ever been before. Many companies begin without vast investments or overheads. Some begin online or out of a home office to keep costs low and make things easy. This is one of the reasons why more people than ever are turning their back on traditional employment to start their own business.
Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t always stay that easy, and many small business owners find that getting started was the easy part. Growing a business, keeping it going, and turning it into a successful and profitable enterprise is much harder. Many small business owners spend time trying new things, experimenting with ideas, and changing processes, in search of what works for them. Few ask themselves if they are actually making their business far more complicated than it needs to be.
There are many advantages to keeping your business simple. It can save you money, reduce your stress levels, make life easier for both staff and customers, and save you a lot of time. But, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes things become more complicated than they need to be without our knowing. They grow out of control, or we simply don’t realize that there are easier ways to do things. Here are five of the signs that your business is too complicated.
You Are Stressed Out
Running a business is tough. You are under pressure to succeed, you may have taken risks, and there’s always a lot to do. But, while it’s hard work, it doesn’t have to be difficult, and it shouldn’t get so bad that you are unable to enjoy your work.
Some stress is to be expected. You are working hard, there are long hours, you might not take time off as often as you should, and at least in the beginning, there is bound to be a steep learning curve. But, as your business establishes itself, things should start to get easier. You should find yourself with more free time. You should feel more confident that you know what you are doing, and your business should start to run like a well-oiled machine.
If you are very stressed, confused a lot of the time, you aren’t enjoying your business, and things aren’t quite going to plan, ask yourself if you’ve made things much harder than they should be. Are there any small changes that you could make, such as using automation for your social media feeds and website, instead of trying to be online and available all of the time, which could make life easier?
You Get a Lot of Customer Questions
Remember, your business is for your customers or clients. Everything that you do should be with them in mind. You should be trying to find ways to offer them an easy and enjoyable customer experience. Your website or eCommerce store should work quickly and be easy to navigate. They should have cart and payment options, and be able to find information that they need, such as delivery details and returns policies, easily. They should be able to complete transactions quickly, without stress or worry. If they can’t, they will go elsewhere.
A sure sign that things are too complicated to offer your customers that all-important positive user experience is that they are asking you questions all of the time. A few questions every now and then are too be expected when you serve the public, and you should be only too happy to help. But, constant questions, poor feedback, and unfinished transactions are signs that you aren’t doing enough. It’s too hard, it doesn’t work, and your customers can’t easily do what they want to. An app, with help from enterprise software development, can often improve your customer service. But, listening to their feedback and asking what you can do to make things easier for them, can be wonderfully effective.
Your Team is Making Mistakes
People make mistakes, and your staff members are no different. New staff especially will take time to learn the ropes, and errors are to be expected whenever we hire someone new. But, one of the advantages of having a long-serving team, is that the mistakes are fewer.
If you’ve got highly skilled, long-term staff members that are well trained and good at their jobs, but they are still making errors and mistakes, ask yourself why. Perhaps it’s not a fault with your people, but with your processes. Are you making things harder for them than they need to be? Ask your employees what you could do to make things easier.
You Do Things Certain Ways Just Because You Always Have
We’re all guilty of doing some things a certain way just because that’s what we’ve been taught, it’s what we’ve always done, and we don’t know any other way. Not just at work, we do it at home too. You might have a recipe that you always make a certain way, even if you know that there might be an easier way. You might drive one route because you know it and you are comfortable, even if there might be a more direct path.
But, the world evolves. Even if your way used to be the best, that doesn’t mean that it always will be. Technology changes, advancements are made, and things change. Don’t assume that your way will always be the best way. Make sure you are open to change. If you can’t answer the question, “why do you do it that way?” Without saying, “because I always have,” it might be time to seek a new way.
Things Take Longer Than They Should
Another sign that things are too complicated is that they take too long. Do you ever finish your to-do list? Are you committing time to tasks that aren’t worth it? Look for ways to simplify, or consider outsourcing these jobs.
If you can see that things are more complicated than you want them to be, it’s time to simplify. Identify ways to save money and time, look at alternative processes, and cut things entirely if you can. Take some time to access all of your systems and processes one by one, and to find ways to simplify. It can be well worth it.