Is your dry cleaning business and life too complex and busy?
Henry David Thoreau says: “Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly a need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” he writes. “Let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million, count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail…simplify, simplify.”
Let me recap: Focus on the vital few things in your business and life that make a difference.
Simplicity is not so simple. Just thinking about simplifying my life gives me a headache. How about you? I’m writing this article because I need a life (mostly) and business simplification adjustment.
If you follow me, you know that I play a lot of golf and to go with that I dress the part. My wife Andrea thinks I over do it a bit. Is it the 87 hats I have? Or the 42 over shirts? Or the 109 golf shirts? Or the 14 pairs of custom made knickers (or plus four’s as they call them in Scotland)? Or the 27 pairs of golf shoes? Or the 167 vintage hickory golf clubs hanging out in my GOLF man-cave? And not to mention the shorts, pants, matching socks and the matching gloves…can’t forget the multi-colored gloves that go with every outfit.
I admit. It’s a little obsessive.
I’ve agreed to slim down a bit. I’m getting rid of at least half of everything. Every couple of years I have a trunk sale. I sell the stuff for cheap and donate the money to the next homeless person that asks. Last time the lucky guy got $120. He was smiling from ear to ear and kept thanking me.
Here Are The Eight Ways To Simplify Your Life:
1. (This one is especially for me) Question your material possession dependence – Get rid of all your crap. Do you hoard? If so, get some help. Get someone you really like and let him or her help you. If it’s really bad, call up the director of that “hoarding” show and go on TV. That should help you. Question everything you own. Do you really need it? You’ve done this before. When you get rid of everything, you feel so light and free.
2. Think for yourself – you’re a dry cleaner owner for goodness sake. You’re a business owner, you should be thinking for yourself. Don’t conform to anyone’s ideas except for your own. If you work best early in the morning, get up really early and get your work done by noon. That’s what I do. Sometimes I’m up by 2
a. m. People think I’m nuts. But I don’t conform to what they or society thinks I should do. I do what I think I should do. I do what fits my life, not someone else’s (not even my wife’s and this is a tough call, but this is my life, not hers. Oh well!)
3. Rethink your commitments – This is a big one. I don’t spend time with people that I don’t like, people that suck my energy right out of my body. I only want to spend time with people that make me feel better about me when I’m with them. I’ve stop seeing some relatives because they fit into this category. So I only go to lunch, dinner and coffee with people I genuinely like. That person must have a characteristic or two that I’d like to improve in my life. So every time I’m with him or her, I’m learning something.
I don’t see salespeople in person. I do it over the phone. This saves a tremendous amount of time and I don’t make any face-to-face commitments. This way, you get right to the point and get to business.
4. Create more free time – Once you’ve got your commitments under control and have gotten rid of the energy vampire’s, you’ll be able to free up some time to spend with your family, friends and your dry cleaning business.
And the next thing you can do is to never do $10 an hour work again. This is a total waste of your talent. I haven’t cut my lawn in decades. I haven’t worked around my lawn in decades. I don’t do any handy work to try to save money. I pay for all of this and it frees me up to do whatever I want. Disclaimer: If around the housework gets you in some kind of “meditative state”, then you should do it. That is good for you. But if it doesn’t and you’re only doing it to save money—hire it out. That’s at home, how about your business? Do you do $10/hour work? I’m sure you do. Do this little trial. Get someone that already works for you to do 5 hours of $10 work you used to do this week. You do that and you’ll be hooked. Delegate. Don’t micro manage. Get out of the way of yourself. Let others do that work that you should not be doing. Spend your time on the marketing of your business. This is where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck. This is $50/hour work and up. Personally, I don’t do anything under $100/hour work. Most of the work I do is $300+/hour work and up. How do I know this? I only work 25 hours a week. And what I’m doing now is $500/hour work. This article will generate members for my organization and it only took 90 minutes to write. Please stop doing the $10 an hour work! Promise?
5. Simplify locks, keys, smart phones and gadgets – I don’t carry keys on my person. It’s been 20 years since I’ve carried keys. I don’t carry keys because I lose them. I once locked my keys in my car along with 2 other sets of hide-a-keys. My vehicle of choice is a Lincoln Town Car. I own it because it has a keyless entry (and it looks like a mob car) and I press a password and it lets me in. Same with my house and man cave. I don’t have any other keys.
My computer and iPhone are quiet. I turn off all the notifications. It’s not pinging every 10 seconds and screwing up my concentration. I only check my e-mail three times a day—morning, noon and night. I purposely work from home because I’m not disturbed. I converted an old pool house into my office and man cave. I call it Club Cosi, a play on my name. I don’t get interrupted. I turn off my phone and go to work. What could you do? You could start your day at home for an hour or two and get to a point that you abandon your office in the plant for a home office like member David Whitehurst of Champion Cleaners did. According to Peter Drucker the management guru, “One hour of uninterrupted time is equivalent to eight hours of interrupted time.” So get out of your plant and get productive. This really simplifies your work time. And if you’re still in your van (and it’s not for “meditative” purposes), you got to get out as fast as you can.
6. Savor the simple pleasures – Go for coffee with your good friends. Take a walk every day like I do. I walk for an hour and I get exercise and the side benefit is that my subconscious mind solves all my life and business challenges. Try it. It really works.
Make believe you’re retired. My Dad had a talk with me when I was 40. He told me not to wait until I retired to do all those things that I’ve always wanted to do. I took his advice. I am the envy of all my friends. I spend three months every year in Florida. And on top of that, my wife and I go to Europe for three weeks every fall. I also go to St. Andrews, Scotland to play golf and I go on another 7 or 8 golf trips.
The work will get done. Most of the time I make more money while I’m away than when I’m home.
7. Focus on the present moment – when you’ve got so many commitments, you are running from one appointment to another. You can’t focus on the present moment. Be where you are. If you’re with your kids, be there. If you’re golfing, be there. If you’re discussing a personal issue with an employee, be there. Don’t be one of those that think of business all the time when they’re home and then think about home when you’re working. If you’re one of those people, you’ll be miserable and unfocused all the time no matter what you do.
8. Give up some control – Delegate. Don’t micro-manage. Give your employees a chance to fail! Failing is okay, as long as they get back up and move forward. By teaching your employees that it’s okay to fail, they will try new ideas for you, some of them working out better than you ever imagined.
No matter how well you plan, it never comes out that way. So be flexible and know that a well thought out plan never goes the way it’s supposed to. Don’t get upset, just change lanes and get with it.
I’ve showed you many things you can do to simplify your business and your life. It’s now up to you to take some of these and put them into action. Let me know how you make out!