Let the power of the pause take you from productive to busy, so you can give more energy to what moves your business forward.
“You need that clarity and that focus on the right things, the things that are actually going to make a big impact from a value perspective and from a profitability perspective,” says Crista Grasso, founder of Lean Out Method. “Then, you need to eliminate everything else.”
When you step outside of how you’ve always defined success, you can recognize other possibilities, plus you’ll have more clarity about what works in your business and what doesn’t.
Can you run your business by doing more with less? Absolutely, but it’s a process you have to commit to.
In the whirlwind of your day-to-day grind, every task seems critical, and every idea seems like a good one. You can jump from one objective to the other without taking time to assess whether the areas of your business you prioritize will lead to success.
You can achieve business growth without getting trapped in purposeless tasks when you understand and commit to the priorities that align with your mission.
“The boldest thing you can do is to actually create the business you want to create,” says Crista Grasso, a lean business consultant and founder of the Lean Out Method, on an episode of The BOLD Business Podcast.
“Stop making excuses, stop being too busy, stop being in the weeds and actually create what you want,” Grasso says.
How to Achieve More With Less — 4 Effective Ways to Start
“The only way to do more with less is through efficiency, maximum productivity with minimum effort and minimum waste,” says business consultant Erik Host-Steen.
Here’s the three-part strategic plan to help you do more with less.
1. Find the Power in the Pause
In a fast-paced culture that demands and rewards continued output, it’s difficult to prioritize pausing.
Yet, because of a pandemic that forced many businesses to re-evaluate their goals as well as how to best use limited resources, it’s become more apparent than ever that pausing is a key driver of business success. It helps you better understand the problems of your business and how to solve them.
With clarity about your challenges, you get to be more dynamic, peel back their layers and find personalized approaches that overcome them.
Without strategic planning and pausing, you’re liable to make quick decisions that don’t reflect your understanding of the problem, which leads to further setbacks, plus delays in how you deliver on your mission to customers and stakeholders.
Too many people focus their energy on the wrong tasks, explains Crista. When you commit to strategic pauses to plan your next business steps, you can be more productive in the areas that move your business forward.
“You need the strategic piece of it to say, ‘Where am I going? What is my actual vision?” Crista says. “Where am I trying to get to long-term, and what is important right now from a short-term perspective that’s in support of that vision?’”
When you operate from within the problem, you significantly reduce your ability to see outside of it to create a solution that supports business growth.
Pausing lets you get outside of the problem. You get to work smarter and faster, and you’ll know with certainty what you want to achieve and what your next step is.
2. Reframe How You Think About Success
One key piece to your framework for success is to have a vision that’s clear and easy to communicate.
When you step outside of what you consider normal, you can recognize other possibilities, plus you’ll have more clarity about what works in your business and what doesn’t.
During the pandemic, Jonathon Hensley, CEO of digital product agency Emerge Interactive, says his company took a moment to pause to learn how to evolve in an unprecedented environment.
To plan a strategic approach for business growth, Hensley and his team first took stock of the company’s core values and mission to assess if they still applied in society’s new normal.
After a deep dive into an evaluation of the company’s internal structure, “We were able to start re-engaging very quickly with customers and prospective customers,” he shares. Emerge Interactive also worked to approach customers “with as much empathy and capacity as possible so we could start to navigate this new world together. Through that, we’ve been able to be very successful.”
Hensley’s moment of pause paired with strategic planning gave him the advantage of clarity.
Being willing to reframe how you define success gives you space to evaluate the priorities and constraints of your business to launch a plan that moves your mission forward.
3. Wrestle Your Complex Challenges
No matter their size, the challenges of your business are complex. Although you don’t have to know everything, you should get creative and be willing to do the work that leads to answers and solutions.
Being outside of your problems gives you better insight into the issues on the inside — with an understanding of what they are, you can effectively break down and evaluate your challenges plus how to overcome them without straying from your (clearly defined) vision.
A major part of this is eliminating waste and getting into an experimental mindset to spur business growth.
Grasso’s Lean Out Method, for instance, specializes in helping you lean out of waste and into the ability to do more with less through the prioritization of clarity.
“You need that clarity and that focus on the right things, the things that are actually going to make a big impact from a value perspective and from a profitability perspective,” she says. “Then, you need to eliminate everything else.”
In your quest to eliminate waste, include your perfectionist mindset. As you run your business, you’ll learn a plethora of ways to solve your challenges and achieve success.
With an experimental mindset that doesn’t associate failure with negativity, you get to “lean out and figure out what the most valuable things are,” says Grasso, as well as the most profitable.
The easiest way to get rid of the waste holding your business back is to experiment and try new avenues. In fact, it’s part of being a successful business owner.
Without creative experimentation, you might be surprised by how many opportunities pass you by. (And you won’t even be able to spot them.)
4. Make a Commitment to Empathy
What’s your customer’s state of mind when you market to them? This is a complex challenge faced by many businesses.
Despite your ideal customer profile, it’s important to understand your customer won’t always be in the headspace you consider prime for selling.
“The reality is they’re your perfect target, but that doesn’t mean their day is perfect when they’re engaging with you or they fit all those parameters when they’re motivated to make that decision to engage you,” explains Hensley.
In addition to the other commitments necessary to lead a resilient business, empathy is part of your framework for success. Similar to how you commit to success, you also have to prioritize empathy to shed your own biases so you can have powerful conversations with customers.
To do this, Hensley relies on empathy mappings, which is a process that captures information about your customer’s feelings, behaviors and attitudes.
Once everyone in the organization has a shared understanding of the customer’s ultimate goal and what they want to achieve, only then can you achieve a lot more with less.
Want to learn more about good leadership? See what else Hensley, Host-Steen and Grasso had to say on the topic in our podcast episode, “Achieve More With Less.” Don’t forget to subscribe to The BOLD Business Podcast for more insights on leadership and success.