Keep It Simple, Stupid (or, as some prefer, Keep It Simple and Succinct). You probably hear it used a lot and, as a result, it has become a bit of an empty phrase.
So, what does it really mean?
I strongly believe the intimacy shown in the above picture is something we small business folks should strive for: warm connections.
Let’s move away from the things that are empty and make us into cold, soulless entities. When you simplify, you have more time to focus on the good things life has to offer. Believe me, I know I could work on this more because I spread myself thin sometimes.
Intimacy and engagement (UNmarketing, if you prefer) go hand in hand.. And they make human interaction much more meaningful and fulfilling.
Now, I’m not saying we should go around being best friends with all our clients and prospects. That’s just not realistic. What I am suggesting here is that we take a more personal approach to things, engage people, and focus on the things that really matter…A few weeks back, Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, published a fantastic blog entry on dumbing things down and using our intelligence for good KISS-style. It really got me thinking once again:
Are we focusing on the right stuff? Maybe I am over-complicating things myself?
It made me take immediate action.
Thanks to his motivational post, I got some exciting new clients and projects. I got stuff done.. And BOY does it feel good!
What I did was quite simple: I focused on the things that really mattered (and followed my own advice), the things that ultimately lead to building long-lasting relationships and increasing conversions.
Getting more specific, I stopped worrying about all the busy work that has no real value, direct or indirect, cut down on the distractions, worked closely with the people that really care, and stuck with a better road map to success (hello, deliberate direction). It was tough but I feel so much better now – w00t!
The Fallacy Of Expertise
Everyone’s a Social Media expert, SEO specialist, Internet Marketing guru, and blah blah blah…
In response to all the self-boosting crap, I offer this great quote by Marcus Sheridan:
When we speak or when we write, we have a choice to make folks—We can try to impress ourselves or we can solely work to enlighten the audience.
Quite simply, we could be the voice of change or part of the noise.
All too often, we fall into the trap of talking big just to impress people. Specialist, strategist, or enthusiast, we’re all students in the grand scheme of things. No one is perfect and people understand that, so quit with the smoke-and-mirrors.
Let’s shift our focus from credentials and promises to the true spirit of small business: helping people and driving results with personalized, innovative solutions. I don’t care about your certifications, past companies, degrees, scores, and all that junk. That’s just more hype and spin, more money being thrown at problems.
People don’t care until they see how much you really care about people.
K.I.S.S. Strategy: Simplify your content, your message (and the call to action that comes with it), to focus on what you really believe in.. And don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know everything. For what you are unsure of, there are always others you can count on…
The Follies Of Competition
With all the analytics and benchmarks out there, it’s easy to focus on everyone else instead of yourself. Personal development develops us into real influencers and authorities, in spite of what Klout or PeerIndex may say.. Yet some of us are too busy trying to one-up everyone.
Quit that mess.
Sharing is caring and, believe me, there is enough pie to go around. If you share best practices and ideas with others, you’ll be surprised what you may learn from each other. Even better, you can trade services and support each other, building a great business relationship and maybe more.
It’s far more simple to put your network to real work. Imagine driving referrals through your competition by working together. If someone is at capacity, they know they can call on you because you’ve built a real relationship.
The Curse Of Knowledge
There are tons of smart people out there and many of them have great ideas, yet they don’t really get anything done. Instead, they employ a dangerous knowledge aimed at discrediting and disparaging, rather than helping others (more foolish competition).
Don’t be a know-it-all or elitist. That sort of attitude leads to aggressive sales tactics, unethical business practices, sloppy work, and other deplorable behaviors. Few people are attracted to that.. And the ruse only lasts so long.
Don’t be that guy.
(How’s that for a callback?)
Simply put: be more approachable by being, well, more down-to-earth. Avoid the lofty attitudes that make people go elsewhere. Put your knowledge to good use and help people so it becomes a blessing, not a curse.
The Tools Of The KISSing Trade
Here are a few more ways to keep things simple (they’ve worked for me thus far, but I could always tweak things more):
- Streamline processes and systems to be more productive (minimize busy work).
- Avoid excessive technical jargon (build conversations, not sermons).
- Provide context clues and additional resources (see the above).
- Keep communications as brief as possible, given the medium or channel, and offer next-steps for those that want more details (drip information, where appropriate).
- Always provide some sort of actionable information to engage your audience (the elusive call to action).
- Avoid empty, subjective words such as “best”, “highest quality”, “synergy”, “mission-critical”.. you get the idea (See item #3).
- Think how YOU would feel if you were on the other side (empathy).
- Review and revise, as necessary – be your own worst critic (so others won’t have to)!
As I write this, I’m looking at a bunch of new tools and communities I’m being invited to check out (like mBlast, which my buddy Dave Gallant recommended today). I’m wondering if it’s something I’ll stick with or if it’s even worth it. I want to be more productive and tweak my workflows for efficient and consistent results. If you don’t simplify, you’ll overwhelm yourself and eventually burn out. No bueno.
So now I have some thinking to do and I’m sure you do, too (neat – that rhymes)!
Anyone have some nifty productivity tips, perhaps things to simplify the mundane tasks that take us away from the stuff we really enjoy? What does your daily workflow look like? Are you happy with that?