Union Pacificis celebrating 150 years of making and supporting our great country. Their traveling exhibit showcases their locomotives, rail cars, and their involvement in America’s history and growth. Their exhibit is interesting, especially if you like train stuff like I do, but as I explored the Union Pacific exhibit a pattern starting catching my attention. The work environment of the train (the moving parts, mechanical features, etc.) had been labeled to ensure there was no misunderstanding of what to do and how something should be used. Signs like “Jack Here”, “Water Only” and “Plunger Out Brakes On” were clearly visible and easy to understand. The necessity of this was clear; safety, speed, and efficiency are all important when you are working with massive rail cars and tons of equipment. Clear messages associated with the business of rail cars helps Union Pacific.
The concept of “simple” can apply to your small business too.
Here are 3 areas of your small business where working to become “simple” will deliver results: Goals, Marketing Messages, and Measures.
Union Pacific played a major role in the expansion of the United States. Their goal was huge, but also very focused: create a rail system that would connect the East Coast and the West Coast. It was an enormous task but very easy to understand. Creating big goals that are simple to explain and communicate is important to small business as it provides the focus for your entire team. Simple, and SMART, goals are essential for ensuring every member of your small business understands and is “on board”.
Small business owners can get frustrated with marketing, specifically poor results even though they are spend money on marketing. If there is not a consistent marketing strategy the business usually has multiple, and often conflicting messages, which confuses your target market. In addition, if you are trying to attract everyone to your business your marketing messages can be ambiguous or overly complicated. When crafting your small business marketing message focus on identifying and then creating messages only for your ideal customer. By narrowing your target market you’ll be able to simplify your marketing message to only those prospects you want to attract which will improve your results.
We have all heard the axiom “what gets measured, get managed”. Unfortunately many business owners attempt to measure too much or create complicated measurements that are hard to consistently calculate. This results in spending most of your time measuring – not managing. The emphasis on measures should be on what you do with the information not an exhausting exercise of monthly data gathering and report generation. Creating a list of the right measures for your business and ensuring they are as simple as possible will allow you to concentrate on making that aspect of your business better.
The advantages of getting simple are clarity, less frustration, and better results. A word of caution though: Getting to simple requires hard work. That’s because simple does not equal easy.
What areas of your small business are you overly complicating and would benefit from being simpler?