In 1906, an Italian engineer lecturing at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland stumbled across a truly startling, life-changing discovery.
Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto observed that 20% of the population of Italy owned 80% of the wealth. Curious, he started to examine the statistics in other countries. Incredibly, Pareto found the same observation held true in every other country too.
Since then, what is now known at the Pareto Principle or The 80/20 Rule, shows up not just in the world’s economics, but in every area of life we have statistical analysis of.
- In your car, 80% of the wear and tear comes from just 20% of your driving behaviour
- 20% of your clothes you wear 80% of the time
- 80% of the population of any country live in just 20% of the major cities
- 80% of Facebook interactions are with 20% of your “friends”
…and so on and so forth.
“All very interesting” you might say, “but what has this got to do with me and my success?”
Oh, just everything.
As I pointed out in a previous message, in our lives and in our businesses, a small number of causes have a vastly disproportionate influence on effects, in other words, a few activities drive MUCH biggest returns on investment in your business and your personal life than the vast majority of what you do.
- 80% of your sales come from just 20% of your customers
- 20% of your customers take up 80% of your time
- In any given project, 80% of the work gets done in 20% of the time (usually the final 20% as the deadline looms)
I could go on but I’m sure you’ve got the drift. The point is the principle. The statistics aren’t always 80/20, sometimes it might be 90/10, or 75/25, it’s the principle of a small number of causes having a vastly disproportionate influence on effects that will…if you allow it…dramatically transform your life for the better.
Which brings me nicely back to the question I’ve previously asked:-
Of all the activities you engage in on a day-to-day basis, what do you think is the most valuable in regard to return on investment?
If you’re answer wasn’t self-education (i.e. personal growth and self-improvement), in other words “developing the owner not the business”, you’re still thinking like most business owners think.
Like it or not, that gets you what most business owners get.
And most business owners, despite their “big” ideas, rhetoric, good intentions, long hours and hard work, are perennial strugglers and underachievers wallowing in utter mediocrity.
They spend 80% (or truth be told, a heck of a lot more) of their time on activities that deliver just 20% (or truth be told, a heck of a lot less) of their success.
They’re ultra busy being ultra ineffective.
Highly successful people do the opposite. They reverse the equation. They focus on the 20% of activity that delivers 80% of their return. And the “develop the owner not the business” principle delivers the biggest return of all…because everything is determined by it.
Your business, your income, your wealth, your health, your relationships…ad infinitum.
It truly is a 99/1 activity.
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here