The Simple Things Make Us More Money

Occam’s Razor says that given two possible answers to a problem, the simpler one is usually right. If we applied this ancient idea to business, we’d make a lot more money.

The Simple vs. The Complex

I find that business leaders who succeed know how to sift through the Complex things that make us busy, to find the Simple things that make us money.


We make money doing the Simple things—connecting with people, returning a phone call, scheduling a paying event, dialing ten numbers and saying hello. We waste time doing the Complex things that seem hard to do— creating fancy business plans, updating our address books or CRMs, and researching things to death. But rarely do the Complex things make us money, they just make us busy.

Succeeding vs. Hiding

The Complex things are where we look and feel productive, the Simple things are where we actually are productive.

The Simple things are where I succeed. The irony is that the Simple things more often than not are hard to do, and the Complex things are easy to do.

So instead of doing something simple and hard, I default to finding Complex, easy things to do. The Complex things are where I hide.
One favorite hiding place is developing fancy spreadsheets that show exactly how successful we would be if we ever did anything. Or any other kind of stalling that masquerades as planning. We “feel” productive, even though we’re not doing anything material to push our businesses or our lives forward.

Everyone around us is impressed with all the Complex things we did today. We even impress ourselves. But the fact is that most Complex things were only hard the first time we did them (and maybe never effective). Early on we learned how to play with spreadsheets, do projections, read and answer emails all day, schedule endless meetings, research ideas, update our marketing materials, etc. But now when we do those things, we’re just playing office.

Successful business owners do it differently. They know what the Simple things are that will push them forward, and they focus their time and attention there.

Managers and leaders are sometimes defined by the Simple vs. the Complex as well. Managers regularly focus on and are distracted by the Complex, leaders deal only with the Simple. If you want to lead your business instead of just managing it—stay focused on those very few simple things that will make you more money in less time.

The Simple vs. The Complex

The Simple things are hard to do. But we are effective and succeed here.

The Complex things are easy to do. We are at best efficient and hide here.

Be more effective. Focus on the Simple things, and walk away from Complex, easy things that won’t push you forward. Here’s a great question to regularly ask yourself that will help you focus on the Simple things:

“Am I hiding right now?”

You’ll be surprised how often you will be able to redirect your focus with this question from Complex things that don’t make a difference, to Simple things that will make you more successful.

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