You’re complicated, life’s complicated. So why are you being told to set up a simple business?

Should you set up a ‘simple’ or ‘straightforward’ business? Many people will try to convince you to. You’ve probably heard the slogan “KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid”. When it comes to rolling out or advertising a product or service, it has its merits. But it’s a fundamentally flawed approach at the early, “balls in the air”, “what’s it all about” phase, which should precede any attempt at a Business Plan.

Simple and straightforward have their merits. They are easy to understand, to communicate, to plan out. But life isn’t like that. People aren’t like that. And if you’re looking at this website, chances are that YOU are not like that. We are complicated, life is complicated. Problems and solutions are complicated. We do ourselves a disservice by trying to simplify ourselves, and our future business, at the early stage. 

Take a look at this, open it up in another browser window:

You may be wondering why I’ve posted this link. Well, I wanted to tell a little bit of my story, how I got to Ethical Startups. In a past life, on a parched festival field on the shores of Lake Geneva circa 1995, I ran a stall making henna tattoos. I loved the fact that I was creating unique works of art that were intensely personal to the wearer, that couldn’t be sold, and that would fade away to memory within a cycle of the moon. A very different business than architecture, my profession, with which I have been having an intense, 20-year love-hate relationship. 

This website intrigues me because it combines different types of values, services and media. Grief counselling is combined with hand-decorated biscuits and henna tattoos, under the banner of ‘Radical Creativity’. What’s the connection, the red line running through such seemingly disparate and incongruous ideas? To my mind, the common theme is hands. The joining of human hands, within a creative space, through intricate actions, using pretty rudimentary, traditional tools. Back to basics. And even though the site is virtual, it touches your heart.

This site says everything to me about Social Media, about life and about business. It’s helpful, it’s authentic, it quite literally wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s unashamedly radical. Its creativity is both superficial – a henna tattoo is not even skin deep, after all – and yet profound like a well of time. It seeks to connect. It seeks to support and to create real value, in other people’s lives, people that the site creator has never met. 

So if you need inspiration, may I suggest you take a look at this site, and at other sites that pique your interest. Think back to your youth, to your ‘henna tattoo festival stall’ moments, to times when you created value (however insignificant or shallow it may appear now) and connected. Bring this into your business. And don’t let anyone tell you to make it more simple, more straightforward. Don’t feel you have to put it into a box, so that even the most dull mind can ‘get it’. The people who need to ‘get it’, will. This is your life, it’s complicated, and so is everyone else’s.

Good luck, x Pascale

PS There’s more money in henna tattoos than in architecture, in case you were wondering 😉

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