For Small Business Week, the 5/1/17 issue of Crain’s Chicago Business had an article on lessons learned from some of the most successful small businesses in Chicago.
One of them was Naf Naf Grill, a Chicago-based chain of Middle Eastern fast-casual dining.
Their lesson was on the importance of simplicity and focus, especially before expansion. They got rid of 80% of their menu before scaling from 2 restaurants, up to the current 29 locations.
The Crain’s article quoted co-founder David Sloan, “You think it’s simple, but you need to work to make it even more so. Because if you’re going to grow quickly, the more absolutely simple you make your operations, the better off you’ll be.”
LESSON: Once you reach the level where your business is adequately servicing your existing client base, and you are ready to scale up (eg. through franchising, expansion, partnerships, major ad campaign, etc.), it is vital to first simplify your business.
There are four areas of strategic simplicity that need attention: market simplicity (what exactly do we sell?), decision simplicity (how easy is it for potential customers to know us and trust us?), user simplicity (how easy and streamlined is the customer experience?), and operating simplicity (have we cleaned up and streamlined our internal processes?).
I work with my clients in all four of these strategic simplicity areas.