Simplicity is something we are choosing to focus on at Gazelle and my service business Well-Loved Piano. It is something we all need in our life and business. At Gazelle we are simplifying everything about our product. At Well-Loved Piano we are simplifying our product, our message, our marketing, and our company. Why? Because I have matured as a business owner and I have discovered there is a huge price to pay for complexity.
All businesses simplify over time, the ones that don't will die. So how are you doing? Does your business pass the "Simple" test?
The simple test: Is it "easy"?
The simple test kills more of my 'great' ideas than anything else. I learned to apply this test by listening to Dewey Jenkins, the owner of the largest HVAC Company in the Southeast. Mr. Jenkins turned an $800,000 company into a $50,000,000 company by asking one question "Is it easy to do business with us?". I thought so, As a matter of fact I was so impressed every time I engaged with his company that word quickly got around I wanted to talk to him. One day my phone rang "Mr Barnes, this is Dewey Jenkins, I hear you want to talk to me..." I dropped everything. Over the next 30 minutes I became the student and asked every question I could think of. That was 2 years ago and I am just now starting to bear the fruit in my own life and business.
Simple is a philosophy, not an end product
In 2014 Luke introduced me to a different type of simplicity when we created Gazelle. He introduced me to people who have influenced him like Jason Fried and DHH who founded a company called Basecamp, Ruby on Rails, and 37Signals.com. Luke taught me that simplicity is something you never actually achieve, it is a way of life. I started to realize that I had been learning this lesson the hard way at Well-Loved Piano. Both Gazelle and Well-Loved Piano are each at different stages of simplicity. But with every passing day, we are growing by cutting out everything that is not necessary and focusing the way we run our business.
Simplicity comes with time
You cannot bypass the effect of time. Your company will either become more simple or more complex as time moves on. It is the difference between a healthy manicured rose bush and a wild overgrown tangled mess. As business owners this is true of our business, but you are the gardener, not the rose bush. Look at Dewey Jenkins, after 30 years he talked to me like he was still trying to simplify his company. He achieved great success because he never stopped trying to simplify.
Simplicity comes with maturity
If you are a business owner and your business is not simple, then you are really bad at running a business. I say this as a business owner who spent the first 15 years being really bad at running my business. I figured this out about 2 years ago and I have spent every day since trying to 'fix me' and 'fix my business' so that we can thrive together.
You will fail without simplicity
You need simplicity in your life. That is why one of our biggest goals at Gazelle is to help you simplify your life. We know we have not arrived, we know there is a lot of hard work ahead of us, and we know that our success hinges on whether or not you are able to simplify your business in the years to come. If we are going to thrive we need to help you simplify. It really is that simple.