Keep it Simple

I read a story recently about a very successful British businessman’s early start. He was employed by the Mars candy company to sweep up the malted milk balls that fell off the production line. After spending most of a day chasing these little milk balls around the plant and having them take off at the slightest touch of the broom, one of the other plant workers told him, “Stomp on them!” Once they were flattened, they were easy to sweep up. The businessman still tells this story to point out that we should not make our jobs more complicated than they have to be. And we should ask experienced people for help.

I was playing in a golf scramble a few years ago with a group of small business owners. We had hit a beautiful approach shot that was only five or six feet from the hole. Three of us were examining this putt from all angles and trying to determine the best way to sink it when our fourth, Mark Gradison, arrived at the green. He looked at the three of us, then he walked over to the ball and hit it into the hole. He looked back at us and said, “You’re making it too hard,” as he walked back toward his cart.

I find that many small business owners, like me, work hard at over-complicating things. Sometimes it’s just as simple as doing it, but we want to spend time planning it instead. I suppose it’s possible to over-simplify things, but we don’t seem to be in any danger of that. Most of our work time is spent doing simple things in a complicated way. Heck, most of our lives are spent that way. For just one day, try to make it simple.


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