The Pareto Rule
An Italian economist by the name of Vilfredo Pareto is known to have proposed the 80/20 rule. According to this rule, 80% of the results are delivered from 20% of the efforts. When applied to the business world, the rule means simply that 80% of the company's sales or revenue comes from just 20% of the customer base.
Common Approach to Business
A common business approach is to make the most of every opportunity presented. Sometimes you just jump in with all guns blazing. You either want all or nothing. What many fail to do is analyse the situation. A detailed analysis is necessary in order to understand whether you are making a good business decision or not. For example it might be more beneficial to concentrate on just a small portion of your opportunities in order to maximise the output. What you need to think about are time and cost-efficiencies.
Applying the 80/20 Rule to Business
When you are running a business you need to get maximum output from minimum input. This is how smart businesses operate. Therefore, work on those things which will yield you the best results.
1. Be Clear on What You Are Doing
As a business owner you need to completely understand your work from the ground-up. Once you are aware of every aspect of your service offerings and your business, you can identify the problem areas. Rectifying these problem areas will increase your business efficiency.
Everything needs to be measured using analytical tools. This is the only way to figure out what works and what does not. There are many analytical tools available at your disposal. For the web the most prominent tool is Google Analytics. You can set up goals and check your performance. Similarly, it will also tell you the areas where your performance is great. Measuring results will allow you to build data that you can then make comparisons with.
3. Think Boldly and Work Smart
To work smart you need to think out of the box. Be bold and take a few chances. Remember, only take calculated risks when odds are in your favor. It is not wise to be bold when things are stacked against you.
How to Use the 80/20 Principle
Let us now see how we can use the 80/20 principle in business to yield optimum output.
1. Look at Social Media Results
Social media is very helpful in giving any business good exposure. At the same time, it also helps build brand loyalty. On social media platforms, some tactics work better than the others. Using analytics you can work out what works on which platform and the result that it yields. Using this insight you can concentrate your efforts on those methods that yield 80% of the result. The rest you can either continue as is or do away with completely.
2. Know Your Customers and How They Order
Knowing your customer is very important. So is studying how they order and how much they order. This information is necessary to find out those people who contribute the maximum to your earnings. Using analytics this information is easy to find. If you concentrate your sales and marketing efforts on these high-profile customers you can curb your expenses immensely.
Targeted marketing removes the wasted efforts on the ears that are not listening, with some extra attention on the high rollers, you can increase your earning capacity. The key to remember here is that 80% of your revenue come from just 20% of the customers. So, it is necessary to identify these 20% customers so that your team and products can be built out with accuracy.
3. Budget Efficiency
What you deem as a sufficient budget may not necessarily be so. Being both over-budget and under-budget is harmful to business. Studies have shown that most new and small businesses tend to spend as little as 7% of their earnings on marketing.
A very obvious fact is that consistent and smart marketing is necessary to build up the brand name. Using the 80/20 rule you need to figure out the marketing expenditures that would lead to the best results.
4. Time Management
As a business owner, you might be thinking that you need to be working 24/7 in order to succeed. If you can identify that one activity that wastes most of your time and cut it out or outsource it, you will have more time to do the things that actually increase your bottom line, this means - more time to spend working on your business. Limiting wasteful activities is the driving factor here.
Streamlining your processes is yet another way to increase your productivity. The 80/20 rule is everywhere. 20% of the activities undertaken lead to 80% of time wastage. In order to manage time better, just take steps to analyze, understand and then mitigate these 20% of activities. This could be easily done by automation, outsourcing and limiting yourself to certain tasks.
5. Leave That Which Does Not Sell
In your business, you might be making a lot of products or offering a mix of services. However, you would have noticed that not all of these earn you the same revenue. This means that all your lines are not equally profitable. Keeping them all does not make any sense, those that are the most profitable need to have your complete attention.
It would not be a bad idea to leave behind whatever doesn’t sell. You will end up with your perfect 80% of high profit services, and the 20% revenue wasters gone. This is a process that always needs a review and refinement.
The Final Word
The entire discussion leads to the fact that you need to apply 20% of your effort to get 80% of the results. It does not mean that the remaining 20% of the results are not worth your effort. What it means is use the 80/20 rule in a manner that can benefit you the most. First aim your 20 to make your 80 happy. Being happy in business is paramount. To do this where needed redistribute your resources in a calculated way to ensure you get the quality and integrity your clients are accustomed to. Once you have achieved this big target you can take a breath and work on what remains. As a business owner, it is in your hands to use the 80/20 rule to your advantage. This rule is not pulled out of thin air but a strategic, simplified way to see continued growth and a pathway to success.