How to Identify Unnecessary Complexity in Your Business

simplify top 10 wastes Jun 11, 2022

Unnecessary complexity is when things are more complicated than they need to be which causes you to work harder instead of smarter. 

It is one of the #1 causes of businesses wasting time and money and causes overwork, overwhelm, and lower profit margins.  

Without a whole lot of intentionality, businesses become increasingly complex over time, which gets amplified when a business experiences a period of rapid growth.  You want to simplify and lean out as you grow to avoid unnecessary complexity.  

Unnecessary complexity is the 1st part of a 10 part series on the top 10 ways that small businesses are leaving massive amounts of time and profit on the table in their business.

How to tell if you have unnecessary complexity in your business

Here are some common ways it shows up in coaching, consulting, and digital service based businesses:

  • Unnecessary steps that are inefficient or add no value - things like:
    • Over-planning and complex and rigid planning practices, or no planning at all
    • Overly documented internal processes and systems, or no systems at all
    • Multi-step and complex processes for someone to hire you, or to onboard once they are a paying client
    • Complicated multiple-step funnels that are both hard for the business to manage and hard for the lead to follow or that lengthen the buying cycle
    • Leveraging multiple different tools that need to be integrated together
  • Overly complex project management tool builds and usage that are trying to substitute for human interaction
  • Doing too much where you are spreading yourself thin which minimizes the return you get on your time and financial investment - for example trying to be on all the social media channels all the time
  • Unnecessary customization where too much time is spent writing proposals that never get approved or delivering custom one-off solutions 
  • Technical debt where you take shortcuts to get something finished quickly that creates a lot of rework or limits your abilities to scale something in the future

How to eliminate unnecessary complexity in your business

Removing unnecessary complexity is one of the fastest ways to get back more time and energy and it helps increase your profit margin.

Assess the following to identify where you can simplify:

  • Ensure you and your team are spending your time on the most aligned and highest impact activities
  • Ensure your business model has you investing your precious resources in the most important places, in alignment with your vision
  • Assess your offers, your sales and marketing funnels, and your content marketing approach to identify where you can maximize your results with less effort or simpler solutions

This is where we start when working with our clients because you can't scale sustainably without simplifying first.  As Steve Jobs says:

“Simplicity scales. Complexity fails.”

Here is a helpful question to discuss with your team.

Once you’ve validated that you need to be doing something, brainstorm with your team on "How can we do less and simplify this and still get the same or even better results?"

There are often simpler solutions in business, it just takes slowing down for long enough to determine what they are and to implement them.


If you would like to partner with someone to eliminate unnecessary complexity and simplify and scale your coaching, consulting, or service based business, that's our specialty.  

Book a complimentary strategy call to see how we can support you in simplifying and scaling your business and let’s eliminate waste and find the hidden time and money in your business together We offer both done-with-you and done-for-you solutions based on your unique needs. 

Explore the other 10 ways that small businesses are leaving massive amounts of time and profit on the table in their business in our 10-part series here.


by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.


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