In Good Company Blog

4 Essential Business Lessons Not Just Learned But Incorporated: Lesson 3 – Simplify

business lessons  of 2012 adelaide lancaster

The learning curve for all entrepreneurs is a steep one that never quite flattens or slows. While it’s great to learn a lot, the pace and intensity makes it hard to absorb, never mind implement, the lessons learned. Kind of like when you used to cram for an exam. You knew the information really, really well for about a day before it became lost in the deep recesses of your brain. That’s why, at the end of the year, it’s really important to reflect on what you’ve already learned before you outline what else you want to accomplish. This is especially important when you are a very small business as you probably don’t have the resources to learn expensive lessons over and over again.

I asked a few entrepreneurs to share their best business lesson of 2012 as well as how they’ve changed their business. The lessons are nothing new. We’ve all learned them – probably several times over. But what’s really compelling is how these entrepreneurs incorporated these lessons into their business practice. They spent time digesting before reaching for more. As a result, their businesses have evolved and improved considerably. Use their example as motivation to do the same!

Lesson 3: Simplify
Fortune McLemore
Portraiture and child photographer

Fortune recently restarted a photography business that she had folded five years ago. She says that she learned a lot the first time, but one thing she only recently learned was to simplify.

During her business’s first run, Fortune did what many entrepreneurs do – she let her clients dictate the terms of her service and her offerings. She listened to customers’ requests and suggestions and tried hard to give them what they wanted. As many of us entrepreneurs know firsthand, this often creates more work than results.

This time around Fortune had other important life priorities (such as being enrolled full-time in school) but she also had a very specific goal and definition of success. She needed a flexible, profitable business that would support her while she was in school but that wouldn’t give her lots of extra headaches. So when she experienced that familiar “hamster on a wheel,overloaded with work” feeling, she decided to take a different approach: eliminating the clutter and keeping it simple.

Fortune aligned her photography offerings so that she could offer the same package for every audience. This helps to keep the administrative and operational details of the business nice and streamlined, as well as simplifies her marketing and promotional materials. She also pared down her Café Press site from 10 products to 1 – focusing on the product that’s easiest to sell and manage. The pay-off has been fantastic. Fortune spends more of her work time actually producing revenue and less time implementing things she doesn’t have time for.  It can be hard to set boundaries and say no, especially to clients, but once you experience how rewarding a simplified business can be, it becomes much easier!

Catch up on Lesson 1 (Focus) and Lesson 2 (Collaborate) and stay tuned for Lesson 4 tomorrow. Or, if you just can’t wait, check out the full version on Forbes.


Pic via.

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