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How to 80/20 Your Business: The Ultimate Guide


When running a small business, you’re always going to be tight on time and investment. And it’s actually super easy to get caught up wasting time on areas of the business that aren’t actually producing the big results!

Here’s where the 80/20 rule comes in. We’re going to show you how you can use it to start making great business decisions. Making these small changes will save you time, money and ultimately help you grow your business! 

What is the 80/20 rule?

It’s a simple concept really! The 80/20 principle, otherwise known as the Pareto principle, basically states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. So basically you want to be getting the biggest results from the smallest efforts! Translated into marketing terms, you really want 80% of your traffic to come from 20% of your marketing efforts. The secret is to identify which clients are in the 20% that are producing the majority of your sales! These are then going to be your ‘ideal’ clients. 

Your Ultimate 80/20 Guide

We’ve created your ultimate guide to making sure your business is following the 80/20 rule. Follow these 5 steps to make sure your efforts are producing the results you deserve! 

Step 1: Get Data

Take a leap and dive headfirst into the data that drives your business. Analyze your sales, marketing statistics, finances and more, to see which part of your business is generating profits and driving web traffic – and which parts are draining your pockets! 

Don’t have any data? The 80/20 rule is now your best excuse to start gathering data! How can you know which products clients are loving most if you aren’t tracking? Or which marketing strategies are generating the most amount of clicks? The best way is to transfer everything onto a digital platform, allowing you to view all the data in one place and really see where the action is!

Step 2: Invest In What Is Working

Once you have figured out which 20% of your clients are producing the most sales, or which 20% of campaigns are leading the most traffic – it’s time to invest in those areas! Think about what these 20% areas have in common. This can paint you a very strong picture of who your consumer is (and what they like!). 

For example, if you find that 20% of your web traffic is from social media content – post more! If 20% of people are avoiding your most ‘premium’ services – pay attention! You may need to start tweaking prices or start offering deals!

Step 3: Begin 80/20’ing your Marketing Strategy

The first rule is to discover where your best customers are – it’s pretty much useless focussing your marketing efforts on customers that just aren’t interested in your services! Target people that are going to be making you money, identify their niche, and drive them down the sales funnel! 

While it’s important to sell to your best customers – also remember to turn on that charm! Delight them with a superior customer experience. If customers are not providing the top 20% of your sales, dial down that engagement. Dedicate your time to people that respect yours!

Step 4: Stop doing $10/hour tasks 

STOP wasting time on tasks that just aren’t contributing to 80% of your sales. If you’re spending hours in a day responding to emails that aren’t from your ideal clients – you’re not following the 80/20 rule! 

Save your energy for the BIG ticket tasks that are going to give you those rewards! These include things like cold calling or tweaking emails – either stop it all together or hire a PA! While hiring an extra pair of hands may be an additional investment – it’s going to give you the time you need to focus on clients and tasks that are producing 80% of your results. 

You want to be doing the $100/hour (or even the $1000/hour) tasks – things like talking to qualified prospects or boosting your USP. Time is money – so spend it on areas of the business that are generating your success. 

Step 5: Streamline your Project Goals

When you’re truly passionate about your business, it’s almost impossible to not have a thousand ideas spinning around in your mind at all times. You want to experiment and get creative with different projects – and that’s not a bad thing! But having too many on the go at one time is going to get distracting, and is also not going to help you reach your core business goals. 

If you’re a start-up, it may be exciting to want to get your hands in all the pies. You’ll be tempted to quickly spend time setting up multiple social media accounts, designing business cards for your employees, or planning partnerships with other businesses. But are these efforts really going to be generating 80% of your successes? While they may be exciting, sometimes the best business decisions come from focussing on strategic projects (not necessarily the most fun ones).

When you start applying the 80/20 rule to your business, you’ll find it actually makes more sense to really knuckle down on 1 or 2 larger projects that are really going to help you make waves in your industry. It’ll also means better use of time and resources and will allow you to focus on tasks that are going to be producing the biggest (top 80%) impacts for your business. Once you’ve established yourself as the main contender in your industry, you can then spend a little more time on the smaller, more light-hearted projects to keep things fresh and new. 


While it’s clearly so important to start 80/20’ing your business, keep this principle in mind for all aspects of your life! Life is short and time is of the essence, so really pay attention to where your main happiness stems from and focus your energy on these areas!