Owning my own business has been a life dream for me. Not a pipe dream, although sometimes it seemed that way. Out of all of the marketing strategies, sales tactics, and product development plans, the most effective element of business success has come from the philosophy of minimalism.
The Bolts and Screws of Entrepreneurial Minimalism
1. Minimalism ensures low overhead: Expenses become increasingly paralyzing as they grow. There’s little more debilitating to a business than an accumulation of expenses. I’ve seen the effect of minimalism in my business; my mind is set on keeping my expenses at a bare minimum while maximizing whatever investment I do make. This ensures efficiency and low overhead, which keeps my business flexible and versatile.
2. Simplicity: Keeping things simple reduces the likelihood of getting in over your head. In my approach to minimalism, keeping it simple means more than just owning less things. As a rule, if a market, client, or strategy requires an overly complex approach, I’ll either take a different path or outsource it. Many businesses get in over their head when they attempt to take on a number of overly complex strategies, and those strategies often end up bringing the business under.
3. Minimalism lowers risk: There’s always risks in starting a business, just like there is doing anything worthwhile (buying a car, buying a house, getting married, having children). The trick to outsmarting risks is knowing what they are and minimizing them. Minimalism helps by eliminating many of the most common risks entrepreneurs think they have to take early on. Because debt is seen as a negative factor that hurts the simplifying process, it gets eliminated. The risks of owning debt subsequently disappear. Having a simple budget does wonders for taking out risks as well – one of the most common problems in start-ups is not knowing exactly what’s going on budget wise. Minimalism in business keeps things simple and straightforward, which eliminates obscure problems such as debt risk, holes in the budget, unorganized staff (which typically causes low morale, motivation, and productivity), and overly-complex business strategies that result in headaches, burnt time, and failure.
4. Stand out: One thing that most entrepreneurs realize early on is that they have to be okay with being different (Think of Seth Godin’s “Purple Cows”). There’s tons of competition out there, and you have to find a unique angle to show and share your value. Being a minimalist gives you plenty of practice in being different – pushing the edge of social guidelines, venturing out into untraveled territory, and shattering the mold that everyone else allows themselves to conform to.
5. Minimalism Boosts Creativity: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Einstein, one of the smartest people in history said that. Minimalism boosts creativity in many ways. It opens up new avenues of thought and helps you view your life from different angles. This isn’t just limited to minimalism by the way; any time you do something out of the ordinary routine, you’ll see life from a different viewpoint, which opens up new channels of creative thought. The advantage of changing things up through minimalism (as opposed to taking up a new hobby or something) is that you’ll get the benefits of minimalism on top of the fresh outlook and creativity.