Is Your Business Sparking Joy Yet? Small Biz Lessons from Marie Kondo

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

We’re soooo glad Marie Kondo is becoming a thing now.

Even before Netflix transformed the KonMari Method — that popular, yet hipster-friendly, principle from Kondo’s book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ — into one of the biggest “reality TV” shows we’ve been talking to friends about, a few people in the office have already fallen in love with her brand of organizing — frankly, a task we usually associate with common office work — into everyday living. A clutter-free space equates to a clutter-free mind. We’re definitely all for that.

Of course, it won’t surprise anyone that Kondo’s “rules for tidying” was something that we found applicable to running a business, too (and, lest we forget, Ms. Kondo is running a business herself). So, we thought you might find it cool if we explain quickly we can learn a few business tips or two from Marie Kondo, both from reading the book and watching the show.

Let’s get on with it!

1. On Giving Up on Things, Ideas, and – GASP! – Even Opportunities

For people who are new to Marie Kondo’s ideas, every idea she pushes for might essentially boil down to this: if something is not “sparking joy”, then that’s a good enough reason to let go of “it”.

What might “it” be? Well, for us, it could mean several things: “it” might be saying no to projects that are beyond what our team can do. “It” might also be letting go of any prospects that are not aligned with our company direction.

Sure, those are tough choices, and doing so might run counterintuitive to what any traditional company does. if there’s one thing we learned from Kondo, it’s that letting go of stuff — or, in our case, several good opportunities — is often necessary to keep our focus. Besides, it’s also good to have this as our way of “delayed gratification”: we sometimes have to say “no” so that decision could lead to better and greater ones in the future.

Of course, it’s not just on the business side of the company that we have applied the KonMari Method; it also runs deep to one of the most important components of any company: its people.

2. On Seeing and Appreciating What You Have

One of the most under-noticed aspects of the KonMari Method is just how visual the whole process is — you use what you see in a given space, and discard what you don’t see.

So, with that said, this is the one factor that never gets lost in any business: the people or, more specifically, the employees.

As a business owner, it can be easy to take your employees for granted; they’re present when your shop or office is open, and they do good work for you even when you’re out doing meetings or fetching kids from school. So, the last thing you’d ever want to do is to forget that they exist. Of course, acknowledging your employees’ work takes more than just saying “Good job!” or signaling “high five” to them.

One of the rare chances to see for yourself how involved said employee is on his or her work is by simply talking to them. Know how they’re doing. See if they have “joy” (relatively speaking, of course) in the tasks they’re performing because, if they don’t, then that lack in morale could affect how the other employees are doing.

This is one area where both the business owner and employee can do a lot of learning simply by empathizing with each other. Besides, if a company innately knows how to treats its employees, imagine how that could translate to interacting with their customers or clients.

And if things don’t work out between the both of you? Well, here’s Marie Kondo saying what might be the most polite way to end a relationship:

“When something doesn’t spark joy, give it a proper send-off. Express your gratitude, and say goodbye.”

It gets easier with time. Trust us.

3. On Simplifying the Organization


We think this might be the prime reason why Marie Kondo is popular today: because we’re living in a highly-distracted era, Kondo’s methods have been necessary in aligning us to the simpler ways of assessing our environment. Two tenets of the KonMari Method — “Tidy by category, not by location.” and “Follow the right order.” — are like scripture to her legions of fans at this point.

Why does it makes so much sense? Well, as humans, our logic evolved with the classification of things according to what we find useful. In essence, it’s just like how streamline certain processes when running a business: the simpler and more sensible a work flow is, the more “actual work” is done.

While a certain system might not be causing problems, what if it’s causing redundancies? Well, that’s how operating a small business can work in your favor: if big companies are afraid of changing something because of a “don’t fix if it ain’t broke” mentality, your company is defined by its agility to respond to changes by virtue of its “small” size. So, there should be lesser risk to changing a system, particularly if it means it affords your team the chance of working more efficiently.

To sum, if there’s anything we might learn from Marie Kondo’s methods, it’s that life just gets easier if we live simply and with a purpose.

So, what’s your KonMari story?