The quest for efficient systems and processes is only helpful if you already have business growth. If your business is not growing focusing on maximising efficiency is a waste of your time and energy. When business is slow the priorities must be sales and marketing, networking, product and service creation, researching your market to know your client, knowing what your competitors are offering and making sure what you do is better. Knowing your most important priorities is the number one task of every business owner.
If you struggle to know your priorities, efficient email management strategies will not help you. A focus on time management will not assist you much. After all ‘time management’ is an oxymoron. You cannot manage time. You can only manage your priorities. You cannot bring back the time you waste doing things that are unproductive.
The 80 / 20 Rule
Vilifredo Pareto, an Italian economist, observed in 1896 that 20% of activity led to 80% of results in many areas of life. His observations have become a widely accepted guideline that has certainly proven true in my life. Applied to business or career this means that 80% of all the things you do every day not lead to business growth. Some of this 80% are important to the maintaining of your business (e.g. administration, invoicing and compliance). But they will not bring business growth.
So, it is critical for every business owner to KNOW the 20% of things you do in your business that actually move you forward. E.g. which 20% of customers are bringing in the 80% return?; which 20% of activities lead to business growth? All smart business people need to make sure you make time to focus and set goals to maximise your returns in the top 20%. This is how you maximise your business growth.
When you create a business plan you need to set your main goals and strategies around the top 20% of activities that bring growth. Your plan does not need to contain all the ordinary things that happen every day that are part of the 80%. Any plan should be geared to business growth. It should include goals, plans and measures that help make sure you accomplish what you want in the year ahead.
So, take some time to think what are those activities which are in the 20%? What are the goals I need to focus on to make sure I make significant business growth this year?
Sometimes called the Pareto Principle developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1896