Business receipts, marketing emails and (countless) draft Google Docs.
Even though we’re renting and subscribing to things rather than owning them these days (I’m looking at you, Netflix & Spotify!), most entrepreneurs still seem to be drowning in clutter and #allthethings.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Just like you can spring clean or declutter your home Marie Kondo-style, you can also declutter (and therefore, simplify) your business. And not only does it feel good (studies show decluttering dramatically reduces stress and overwhelm), it can also boost your productivity and efficiency, so it’s truly a win-win scenario.
Know your business needs a major declutter session, but not sure where to start? I’ve got you. As someone who truly has simplifying business down to a science, I’m breaking down the top five areas of your business to declutter/simplify – and how.
1) Your Workspace
Let’s start with the most obvious: Your workspace. Whether you have a gorgeous, decked-out desk or you’re still opening up shop on the kitchen table, you spend a significant portion of your biz-building time there. That said, it should be as clean, clear and un-cluttered as possible.
If you’ve got a mess to clean up, no worries: Start by putting items back in their respective homes–whether that’s a drawer, or another room all together. Next, toss (or pack up to donate) anything you don’t actively use. Haven’t used that Sharpie since before the pandemic? It’s safe to let it go. Think about everything from dusty old paperwork to junky office supplies. If you can see it and don’t use it–it’s got to go.
You should also keep your desk as clear–and minimal–as possible, so only the most important items are visible. This might mean tucking your trusty old Chapstick in a drawer, but leaving your fave pen, (one) notebook and your computer (obviously) right in sight. Need more space? Consider investing in fun, new storage options, like file cabinets or floating shelves.
I promise once you’ve done this, you’ll feel an immediate shift in how calm and peaceful you feel in your workspace.
2) Your Schedule
Next, let’s talk about the bane of most busy entrepreneurs’ existence: Their schedules. Most of us are doing our best to juggle both biz & family life, which means of us are also trying to ‘squeeze’ in a variety of (likely, too many) tasks, appointments and other priorities every week.
In order to start gaining control of your schedule, you’ll need to get ruthless about your priorities. While I could easily write an entire blog post just on this topic, let’s keep it simple: Take a look at your weekly calendar and ask yourself if there’s anything there you can eliminate or delegate. Is there anything you don’t actually have to do, that you’ve been doing out of obligation? Is there anything you can pass off to someone else–like a VA, or your spouse?
Also, be sure to get honest with yourself about whether what you’ve agreed to is truly a priority. Are you dedicated to too many work projects–like trying to juggle three clients and a live launch at the same time?
Or maybe you’ve agreed to show up as a consultant in a #bizbestie’s group program but feel like it takes a huge chunk of out your work (or self-care) time?
You might not be able to bow out of all your commitments at once, but it’s important to start getting clear about what’s actually important to you and what’s actually moving the needle in your business. And if something on your iCal isn’t doing either of the above? Well, it’s probably time to bid it farewell.
3) Your Finances
You absolutely need to ‘mind your money’ as a business owner. Financial management is critical to the success of any business. That said, I get that keeping track of income, expenses, and taxes can be overwhelming.
If you’re struggling or feeling stressed out about your business finances, check your methods. How are you actually tracking–and managing–your money? For example, are you manually entering information into an Excel spreadsheet, when you could use an automated accounting software (or even hiring a bookkeeper or accountant)? If you can’t seem to keep up, maybe it’s time to ditch old Excel & try a system like KeeperTax or QuickBooks, which will automatically pull in all your transactions, categorize them and help you out at tax time.
Beyond automating your bookkeeping, you should also aside time each month to review your financial statements. Some small business owners call them “Money Dates” and you can make them as simple–or extravagant–as you like.
You’ll want to look at both income and expenses. Did you hit your goals? Is there anything you can eliminate that you’re no longer using? (Streamlining the number of subscriptions hitting your biz bank account every month can be a total game-changer–and stress reliever!) Do you have any payment plans expiring–either on the receiving end (like a client’s payment plan) or on your end (like you’re wrapping up paying for an online course)?
Getting clear on–and creating a system for staying on top of–where everything’s going every month will give you major peace of mind in the money department.
4) Your Marketing Strategy
Marketing is essential for growing your biz, but let’s be real: it can be one of the most time-consuming tasks in your week.
That said, what if you decluttered your marketing strategy, too?
Here’s the deal: You don’t have to be on every platform, all the time. If you want to declutter your marketing, start by analyzing the platforms you’re already on. Which ones are moving the needle–and which ones aren’t? Next, you can try focusing only on the channels that are most effective for 1-3 months. For example, if most of your clients & customers come from Instagram Stories, make that your main marketing channel. You can always hire a VA–or use a tool like Buffer–to repurpose your content on other platforms.
Then, sit back & relax! You can re-evaluate in 30-90 days, and you can always add a platform back to your plate if needed. But if nothing changes? Maybe it’s time to let that platform go for good.
5) Your Product & Services
On paper it sounds like a good idea to offer a wide range of products and services at various price points. I mean, it’s nice to have “something for everybody,” right? In reality, though, the opposite is often the case. Offering too many products can confuse your customers–and leave you feeling like you don’t know what to focus on or market each month.
How can you start cleaning up your offer suite? Audit the products you have for sale on your website. Ask yourself: Is this product still aligned with my brand message? Do I still stand behind the content? Is this product actually selling? (Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve actively promoted it recently!) If the answer is no to any of the above, remove them from your site for a month. You can always refresh or update them and re-list them.
This provides your audience with less options when they hit your website (and will hopefully help eliminate any potential decision fatigue).
Another way to simplify your offerings is to think about only focusing on what you do best and/or choosing a signature offer. Identify your core products or services–aka what you want to be known for–and focus on delivering them with excellence, while you let everything else sit on the backburner for awhile. You can also choose to focus on your best-sellers, aka the products and/or services bringing in the most bacon.
Either way, cutting back on what you offer can not only help you build your reputation as the “go-to” in one particular area, but also streamline your business operations. Less products & offers means less marketing, less back-end administrative work to take care of and less customer service inquiries.
So, ready to start decluttering your business? Try just one of these areas to start and see if you notice a difference in your mood, productivity or results–and go from there.