Applying Marie Kondo's principles can help simplify and streamline your business. Start with these four tips to tidy up your business practices.
Everyone is talking about Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo and her “KonMari” home organizing method dedicated to the “life-changing magic of tidying up.”
Kondo has authored an internationally bestselling book of home organizing advice and is also the star of a new Netflix show called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Perhaps you’ve seen your own friends and relatives on social media sharing their latest photos from decluttering and tidying up their own homes, Kondo-style.
There’s something so refreshing and energizing about the idea of organizing your house, getting rid of unwanted clutter, and living a simpler existence. Marie Kondo has created a global sensation with her advice to only keep happiness-inducing items that “spark joy” for you, to carefully fold each item in your clothing drawers in a way that saves space and makes each item easy to find, and to “thank” the discarded items that you give away at the end.
But what if you could bring these lessons to your business as well? Here are a few ideas, inspired by Marie Kondo herself, on how entrepreneurs can tidy up their business and sales process:
1. Declutter your client list
One of the biggest mistakes many solopreneurs and small business owners make is believing they need to go after every single client and chase down every last dollar. The truth is, not every customer is right for you. Everyone has clients who take up too much time and energy for too little reward.
Do your clients spark joy or drag you down? If you can get better at getting rid of clients who aren’t quite the right fit, or who take up more energy than they’re worth, you will have more energy to deepen relationships with your best clients—plus you’ll have more fun and make more money, too!
2. Tidy up your sales process
Are you using brochures that are outdated? Are there steps in your sales process that have much lower conversion rates? Are you satisfied with your CRM system or other sales tools, or would you be open to trying some new, simpler software? Is there a sales conference or trade show that you always exhibit at, just out of a sense of tradition, even though you’re not getting the results you hope for? Is there a part of your sales process that feels clunky or outdated, but you keep doing it “because that’s how it’s always been done”?
Just like Marie Kondo tidies up and brings order to a cluttered home, you can improve your sales process so it runs more smoothly. Go back to first principles: If you had to design your sales funnel today for the first time, starting from zero, what would it look like? How long has it been since you updated your sales call scripts, your company mission statement, or your elevator pitch?
You’d be surprised at the amount of antiquated jargon that can creep into your sales pitch over the years, without you even realizing it. Take time each year to take a fresh look at your entire sales process and adjust as needed.
3. Achieve clarity on big-picture goals
Decluttering your life or decluttering your business achieves the same result: both help you to see clearly what your next steps should be. Give yourself a timeline with specific deadlines to work on a few crucial big-picture actions, such as “Cut ties with three under-performing client accounts,” “Edit and revise our sales demo,” or “Write a new sales pitch/elevator pitch.”
After you have performed a few of these actions, retreat from your business for either a half day or full day to do some big-picture strategizing. With less clutter crowding your day, hopefully you will have a clearer vision about what you really want for your business’s future.
4. Practice gratitude
As part of the decluttering process, Marie Kondo teaches her clients to say “thanks” to every discarded item, because even if you no longer want the item, it still served you well and deserves gratitude. This is a kind of fun attitude to have in business, too.
Whether you’re cutting ties with a client who is no longer a good fit, getting rid of an outdated brochure, or changing some aspect of how you do business, be grateful for what you’ve discarded and be thankful for any new opportunities. You may find when you try to cut ties with a client, they’re surprised or even hurt, but if you handle the situation right, the client may turn into a future source of referrals.
And no matter where you are on your business journey, gratitude can help you stay focused and stay energized through the ups and downs of running your company.
Find joy in your business
Marie Kondo has tapped into a widespread longing for simplicity and order. People often feel overwhelmed with the amount of clutter and material possessions in their everyday life—and business owners often feel overwhelmed, too, by the sheer volume of communications and decisions and strategic options in front of them each day.
By having an attitude of minimalism and getting the most value and enjoyment out of every client relationship and every facet of your business, you can create a simpler, better-performing business that will hopefully “spark joy” and generate big profits for many years to come.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. Readers should consult their own financial advisers, attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial or tax strategies mentioned in this article.
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