Meet this month’s Declutter Queen, Sara from Business Best Friend. My fellow Blogcademy grad talks business – daunting, I know – but in a simple, approachable way!
★ So tell us – what does “Business Best Friend” mean, and how did you come to be one?
Business Best Friend developed as a reaction to studying business at university. I was learning about traditional management thinking, but looking around me, I saw this massive disconnect. The global financial crisis and horror stories about layoffs motivated me to develop something that no one could take away from me.
Business Best Friend means moving into the frontier of business, the new ideas, the evolution. It’s also about getting away from bureaucracy, profit-centered results and somber grey suits and moving into sparkle, collaboration, cooperation, doing good. Everyone has a best friend that listens and doles out amazing advice, my aim is to be that person for anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit within.
★ How inspiring! What is the first step in starting a business?
Develop an amazing idea and/or a very clear purpose for starting your business. This will guide everything.
★ Starting a business is such a daunting yet exciting task. What is your advice for simplifying the process in mind and practice?
Be very clear on why you’re starting your business. Having purpose is everything – it motivates, and it clarifies making decisions. “Why” is the most powerful word I know – make sure you can answer it.
★ And what is your purpose, business lady?
My purpose with BBF is to support others, create a community, and to move business practice forward. When I write an article, I ask myself, have I achieved at least one of these purposes here?
★ How do you guard against over-complication?
Know your customer. Develop a very specific profile of your ideal customer. For BusinessBestFriend my reader/customer is 22 years old, female, starting to read magazines like TIME and Fortune, prefers quality over quantity, likes to challenge ideas. As you can see, when I say very specific, I mean VERY specific. Keep this person in mind at all times.
Ask yourself, ‘is this adding value to my customer?”. When the answer is yes, do more of that. When the answer is no, ideally you’d eliminate that task but sometimes we have to settle for a reduction. Asking what the value is will help you eliminate unnecessary tasks, products, and inefficient systems. A second step to this could be to consider, ‘is this the best way I can deliver this value? Can it be done faster, better, stronger?”
★ With technology and social media becoming an increasingly important tool for businesses, how do you suggest using them effectively without overwhelming yourself?
My simple criteria is that it must be fun and effective. I dabble in new platforms, do some research on how other people are using them effectively, and develop a purpose for that platform – form example, “to engage with more readers”. If that purpose is achieved AND I enjoy using it, then I keep the platform or app or whatever it may be. If either of these criteria are missing, I stop using it. Simple as that.
★ What are your tips for getting organized without going crazy?
A place for everything and everything in its place. An organised space equals organised mind. Clichéd for sure but clichés become clichés because they’re true.
Develop systems and habits. This follows from above but also applies to the processes you use to develop content, reach your audience, tackle email, organize receipts, everything. Experiment, but make sure you follow up with reflecting on what you’ve learned.
Have a receptacle of some kind (I have a tray) in your work space in which to put mail, magazines, odds and ends so they don’t clutter things up. Clear it out regularly.
Most of all, keep only what you use. This can be applied to everything. Delete apps, donate clothes, unsubscribe to blog and mailing lists, cancel subscriptions. Be mindful of what you actually use and remove everything else. Creativity requires both mental and physical space. Make sure you create some.
On that particularly fashionably light note, you can visit Sara at Business Best Friend!
P.S. Meet our previous Declutter Queens, Andria and Lucy J!