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Keeping it simple is good for your small business

As a small business owner, you've probably convinced yourself at one time or another that more is more – whether it was while writing a lengthy e-mail, holding a drawn-out meeting or giving a presentation that's twice as long as it needed to be.

Consider your life for a moment: In any given day, many of us end up confused, frustrated and delayed by having too many options. Right now we are facing a crisis of complexity.

I'm here to tell you that simplicity always has been and continues to be a beautiful thing.

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Simplicity is defined as "the quality or condition of being easy to understand or to do." Read and re-read that line until it's essence permeates your very being.

Then, from an outsider's perspective, consider your business. Are the services or experiences you offer obvious to your customers. How simple are your client and staff management processes? Would an outsider look at your business and say "I get it" in 30 seconds or less, or struggle to understand what you do after spending a few minutes on your website?

You business will benefit from simplification on every level, and the proof will be in your profit.

Steve Jobs emphasized the importance of simplicity at Apple. Distinctive and clean design is something that sets Apple apart. Jobs said "It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions." As Apple's first marketing materials in 1977 stated: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Too many companies and organizations, especially big ones, prefer to fight change, wrongly thinking it's the path of least resistance. For many businesses, they think it's easier to add rather than subtract, or take a blank-slate approach, which would make things clearer for customers.

They couldn't be more wrong. The brands and businesses that come out on top in this already over complicated world, will be the ones who bring it back down to the basics, and push that brand intention through every single customer touch point.

It's easy to overcomplicate things. It's smart to keep things simple.

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Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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