Business Strategy NOW: 5 Immediate Actions to Reduce Friction
Updated: May 17, 2022
The Best Business Strategy, Fresh From the Microwave!
I’m a lucky American kid who grew up after the invention of the microwave. Everything about it is fast, easy, and I know what I’m getting once the machine goes “ding!”
The result? Well, for better or worse, to wait more than two minutes for a hot dish seems a little time wastey.
When I talk business strategy with clients, I see I’m not the only one formed by the microwave culture, or should I say the “one-click buying” culture. None of us are that great at being patient. Most of us want everything to happen today.
That includes clients - which brings me to the concept of friction in business.
Friction rrrreally affects purchase decisions.
There are so many clients lost every day due to friction. They disappear in droves - simply because a site didn’t load properly or there were too many details on a form.
So I thought we should discuss a business strategy for all you microwave and one-click kids out there. Here are some things you can do for making right NOW happen a little more smoothly for prospective clients.
So - wait - before we talk business strategy, let’s talk about what Friction actually means.
Friction is all the stuff that’s between your client and you. Friction can be any step, any detail, any…thing that delays the moment between their interest and their action.
“The concept of business friction isn’t new,” says the Sacramento Business Journal, “It’s anything that prevents or dissuades customers from buying your products or services. For customers, friction can be long wait times on hold, products that are out of stock or a bad experience with a company’s website.”
When we think of business strategy or marketing campaigns, simplicity is often the last thing we consider. We think of offers, options, and wow-factor.
But each of these can add steps to the purchase. That usually means friction.
The steps may seem small, but each step is a moment that your would-be client can drop out of your funnel. Reducing that friction can be the lowest hanging fruit in your business strategy.
What’s Your Load Time
The first stop in reducing friction is your website. Let’s talk about load time.
Load time is how long it takes for your website to materialize on someone’s laptop or - most of all - their phone.
Too often sites are designed on a desktop computer and for a desktop computer. But mobile commerce is forecasted to double by 2025. So, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling - mobile matters.
And there’s no way to kill off your mobile clientele better than a long wait on load time.
Think about it. How often do you stick with a slow site? How quickly does your curiosity turn to impatience when you’re checking out a new offer that won’t load fast?
The best business strategy is to simplify that site.
It starts with thinning out the visuals on your site. Get it to load in 3 seconds or less. I know! Your site is beautiful! But some of your designs are all about looks, not functionality.
Don’t get me wrong - I love and use both images and videos. But choose compelling visuals that say the most in the least time and space. Don’t bloat it with code.
Be sure to compress your images to use the least amount of space. Beware of custom fonts.
It’s a more useful business strategy to have a fast site than a mesmerizing array of images.
The Strategy of Choice
Choice may seem like a terrific thing, but as any exhausted diner will tell when they open a gigantic menu - you know the ones that look like bibles - it’s possible to overdo options.
When you’re putting together your list of options, remember that overwhelm is often what’s causing friction. Sometimes the best business strategy is to simplify the customer’s choices.
Put together a list of offers that’s easy to remember and sift through. Eliminate any offer that’s too much like another one. And don’t mention every possible tweak and extra.
Consider things from the users’ point of view. What’s the essential need you satisfy? Make only essential offers.
Too many options on a site can make a client get caught in too much decision-making. “Enough” is a good business strategy. And the basic yardstick of “enough” is a menu of options that you can say in one breath.
Keep it tidy, clear, and compelling.
CTAs: Here’s What Happens Next
“Book your free call.”
“Sign up for the free e-book.”
“Would you like to be on our email list?”
These are calls to action, better known as CTAs. They’re just another easy business strategy to reduce buyer friction and keep the conversation going.
CTAs are one small next step forward for the client. No commitment. No threat of getting in too deep. It makes moving the relationship forward more palatable and basically friction-free.
Every…every interaction you have with a potential client should have a CTA attached.
And if that seems icky to you, just remember that a CTA is about helping your client with the concept of “What’s Next?” That’s all.
For example, I hated reading the directions for board games when I was a kid. I didn’t want to know every possible detail of every possible event that might possibly come up during play.
I just wanted to know what happened next? I just wanted to know – what’s my next move?
This is so often the feeling of a prospective client. Your business strategy here is about clearing that, and only that, up. Just an easy path…to the next square on the board.
You don’t need a business strategy that sells them on the whole journey right now. Just on the next move. Tell them what to do today and what happens to them when they do that.
“If you do this, here’s what will happen.”
Give them the option to take a journey of just a couple of steps. Create a pathway in their mind that’s short, low risk, and interesting. A pathway that makes them feel safe and curious.
All you have to do is drop in your email.
All you have to do is tap this button.
One easy step after another can get you all the way to where you - both - want to be.
Free Samples…of You
Value is what everyone is looking for. They want a sample of your value. Okay then. Give it to them.
Your super-duper, friction-free, business strategy for now… is to offer the client value without them lifting a finger for it.
No. I don't mean steak knives. I mean offer them samples of your work.
Think about it - that’s what I’m sort of doing here. That’s what I do on my live streams. It’s all free. There’s no commitment. There’s nothing for you to do. No hoops to jump through. Nothing to fill out.
You can come here, or to my Facebook page or Linkedin. And you can read my thoughts, see me talk, hear me respond. “Here’s a free sample,” I’m saying.
Accepting a free sample is the easiest ask in the world of business strategy. So offer your clients a solid, useful sample of what you do. Let them sit and watch. Skim the page. Find what they need. And take it with your blessing.
It may seem dumb, but it’s not. It’s a transparent and open-hearted business strategy and the ultimate friction-free interaction.
Business Strategy Made Easy
The point is people don’t owe you their business. They don’t owe you their work either. Make it hard work for a prospect to connect with you, and they’ll just move on.
It’s pretty much always about empathy.
To improve your business - just put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Ask yourself, is this too hard? How long am I asking them to wait? How many hoops do they need to jump through? How clear am I being?
Design a business strategy around that.
It may not be as fast as a microwave, but it’s going to be a lot more satisfying than Lean Cuisine.
HAVE WE CONNECTED ON LINKEDIN YET? I'M A HOOT IF I DO SAY SO MYSELF
Sacramento Business Journal, Reducing Business Friction to Deliver Better Experiences, Comcast Editorial Team
Statista, Mobile Retail E-Commerce Sales in the United States from 2019 to 2025