Charting a new business strategy is never easy. But “tidying guru” Marie Kondo’s recent pivot has some useful lessons for nonprofit leaders and business owners alike.
Remember years ago, when everyone was talking about Marie Kondo’s directive to only keeping belongings that “spark joy”?
Well, after a challenging couple of years for the world, we here at Funding for Good are ready to immerse ourselves in sparking some joy. Which is perfect timing, as Marie Kondo just released a new book, Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life.
As small business owners, however, what most caught our eye about Kondo’s latest endeavor was the evolution of her business strategy. Now, she wants to do more than just help us tidy our rooms. She wants to help us rethink our lives.
As Kondo explains in an interview with The Guardian:
Through tidying, you would have to repeat the process of finding things that spark joy or not. And through doing that many, many times, you will improve your sense of finding out what sparks joy in your life and what doesn’t. That can be applied not just to objects but also to people. Gradually, people would start changing what kind of person they want to date, or what kind of job they think might spark joy. That’s how life can change.
We often think of change—whether it’s in our lives, businesses, or organizations—as major pivots. But Kondo’s approach to not only her clients, but also to her own work, reinforces the value of iteration. Trying things. Seeing what works. And investing strategically.
Here are a few of our key takeaways from Kondo’s new business strategy:
Build on Your Strengths
Marie Kondo and her team know what works. She’s got a bestselling book and a Netflix series. So in charting a new business strategy, Kondo sought to build on her strengths. According to a New York Times review of her new book:
Building on Ms. Kondo’s famed organizational method of sorting through belongings to determine which create a frisson of delight, the book invites us to discover what sparks joy not just among our possessions but also in our environments, relationships and daily activities.
We can apply a similar approach in our work. Whether we’re business owners or nonprofit leaders, it’s critical to understand our strengths as much as our weaknesses. Consider asking yourself:
- What are my organization’s recent successes?
- What key factors contributed to that success, whether certain partners, investments, or strategies?
- What have been my organization’s most recent failures and what factors contributed?
- What opportunities are there to build on my organization’s successes, while avoiding pitfalls?
From this starting point, you can home in on areas of opportunity where a new business strategy could yield even greater results.
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Experiment with New Business Strategies
As much as Marie Kondo is building on what already works, she’s also testing out new directions. We here at Funding for Good are too.
For example, in August 2022, Funding for Good co-hosted our first virtual Nonprofit Consulting Conference. With hundreds of nonprofit consultants attending, the conference exceeded our expectations. The connections and insights we made continue to inform our work—and the work of our attendees.
But the first step for us was being ready to experiment with a new business strategy.
Assess What Works and What Doesn’t with Your New Business Strategy
Now, we don’t know what Marie Kondo’s new venture will bring, but one thing Funding for Good has learned as small business owners is the importance of evaluation.
For every new initiative we launch, we build in moments of evaluation to consider:
- Are we adding value to our clients?
- Does this effort have the potential for a strong return on investment
- Is this service delivering the desired impact? How can we make it even better?
- Are we enjoying the work itself?
If we’re channeling Marie Kondo, at the end of the day our goal at Funding for Good is to deliver services that “spark joy” for our clients and ourselves.
Whether we’re helping nonprofit consultants grow their businesses or helping nonprofit organizations create strong strategic plans, our commitment is the same: building long-term sustainability for nonprofit organizations.
Need support but not sure where to begin? We also offer consultations on-demand.
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