Developed by Italian economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto, this short, simple rule states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our activity.
You may have heard that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, and the same 80/20 rule applies to business. For instance, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Conversely, 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers, and 80% of the profits made in your industry come from 20% of the companies. The exact percentages may vary, perhaps 75% and 25% instead of 80% and 20%, but the concept remains the same.
By identifying customers and areas that are most valuable to you and your business, you can boost your bottom line without working longer or harder. In fact, you’ll be working smarter. At the same time as you’re finding your most profitable areas, you also need to think about those customers or products that are not performing well and may actually be dragging down you and your business.
For instance, if you own a secondhand music store, you probably have some inventory that is flying off the shelves and other products that just aren’t selling, no matter how low you price them. By dividing your products in categories (perhaps by music genre), you could see which items your customers are buying and which ones you should stop carrying. By matching your products to customer demand, you’ll be able to turn over inventory more quickly and make more money, all without adding more square footage or spending more money on advertising.
Here are some areas to consider in your own business:
*Employees – Who is your rock star team member and what can you do to help them achieve even better results? Also, who is underperforming and might they be better suited to other tasks? Both are important considerations.
*Clients – Calculate how much revenue you’re getting from each client and subtract the cost of administrative time or other costs to maintain that relationship. Once you’ve figured out which clients are in your top 20%, you can make some strategic decisions about how to better meet their needs.
*Markets – If you sell products to different markets, evaluate these markets with the same principle you used for evaluating your customers. The markets that are earning you the most money should become obvious, so you can start examining the direction in which the company is headed.
Once you’ve identified areas that aren’t paying off, you have to take action and “trim the fat.” Your business cannot flourish if you’re spending valuable time and resources on customers or products that are unprofitable. Once you make the strategic decision to cull wasted time and focus on areas that earn more money, you’ll have a much better chance of surviving—and flourishing—in a competitive business environment!
Question: Where can you “trim the fat” this week? Let me know below.
© 2013 Ali International, LLC
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