KISS -Keep It Simple Stupid.
Many small business owners like to take the road less simple. If a task takes 2 steps to finish they will manage to stretch it to 10 steps. They are wired to think complex. We have pondered on the question for some time – when you are running a small business should you opt for a simple operation or a complex one?
You can see the examples of simple and complex operations in franchises as well. On one hand you have a pizza franchise such as Little Caesar’s – home of $5 Pepperoni Pizza with no delivery. On other side there is Pizza Hut with large number menu items and toppings and it not only has carry out; but also delivery and dine-in. Which one is easier operation to run?
There are number of reasons why you should try to keep things as simple as possible.
- Simple operations reduce the room for error. You will make fewer errors in completing a task if it takes 2 steps as opposed to 10.
- Having a simple menu with less number of items will reduce your inventory and working capital needs. It will also reduce the spoilage as a result.
- Simple operation improves customer service. If customer has to choose from 5 selections as opposed to 25 it will move lines faster. On a side note, you can also take certain steps to help customer make those choices.
- You can train your employees faster if your business operations are simple thus reducing employee cost and improving customer service.
So, how can you embrace KISS principle in your business? Below we show how to adopt this principle and how it applies to the situations when running a small business.
- Reduce the number of avenues for error. If you are running a pizza store and can make same amount of money with carryout only operations (e.g. Little Caesar’s) do not worry about deliveries and dine-in.
- Breakdown larger process into smaller ones. For example, the process of customer order and payment can be broken down into customer selection, customer order, invoice, payment collection and payment processing. Breaking down a larger process gives you an opportunity to examine the steps in details and improve it. We showed how to finish large projects with divide and conquer in earlier post.
- Simplify whenever possible. For example, if you can make a product using parts that are readily available in the market you should choose them instead of the specialty ones that is available only at a particular vendor.
Albert Einstein famously said – “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Look at everything you do in running your small business and identify opportunities to simplify. You will not only make life easier for you and everyone else; but it will also lead to higher sales and profit. Now, that is a simple message to understand. Happy KISSing!!!