If I asked you to give me the names of 10 random colleagues, I’ll bet you there are two who are positively killing it in terms of sales and success, two who are really struggling and six who are in the middle (neither failing nor soaring, just doing okay).This is true whether you’re an esthetician, hair stylist, spa owner, cosmetic laser technician, etc.— a small percentage of folks will always rise to the very top of their professions. In business writings, this is known as the 80/20 rule, meaning that 80% of a group’s collective income is earned by just 20% of its members.
The magic question is, are you part of the top 20%? If so, great. If not, why? In life, there are doers who make things happen and dreamers who wish for it. While some might think of doers as full-on, type A personalities unconcerned with lofty concepts such as dreams, I disagree. Doers are very much interested in dreams, but it takes consistent discipline to set them apart from dreamers. Doers make commitments, while dreamers dream. So, how does that translate to your business?
80/20 on Goals
Let’s take a closer look at the top obstacle to getting things done: excuses. It is easy to make excuses for staying in the bottom 80%. Here are a few that I’ve heard over the years: successful people are just lucky; it’s not my fault; or I’m not a trust fund baby. And here’s what I always say in response–baloney. Twenty percenters have simply learned how to position themselves by being unique and memorable and putting a plan into place and making it happen. Yes, it really is that easy. Because it’s one thing to get excited about making more money—it’s another to create and implement a plan for three months straight.
Uh oh, I hear more excuses coming on: I can’t stick with my business/financial plan right now because…my cat died, my boyfriend broke up with me, my landlord is raising my rent, I have bills to pay/kids to feed, there aren’t enough hours in the day, etc. Well, that’s called life, and these types of challenges are unavoidable.
There are times when you really won’t have time. That’s when you have to step it up a notch. Let’s say your goal is to get five new clients every week, and you’re sending out 25 daily flyers, posting on social media once daily, blogging on your website weekly and making a few calls to friends for referrals. From this, you’re getting about three new clients a week. Then, your car breaks down and you lose an entire day of sales efforts. How do you handle it? Do you throw in the towel and spend the next two days binge-watching Game of Thrones? Are you a doer or a dreamer? You’re a doer, right?! And being a doer is all about setting up a plan, sticking with it, and then (perhaps most importantly), adjusting that plan whenever needed so that you stay on task. Instead of wasting hours feeling sorry for yourself (and your car), you’ll spend your time wisely—increasing your efforts with twice as many flyers, doubling your social media posts and blogs and increasing your phone calls to friends as much as possible.
The doer has goals and a plan to get there. On weeks where she or he falls short, they adjust their actions to hit targets rather than making up excuses. They’re not inherently luckier, smarter or richer than the rest of us, but they do tweak, twist and adjust their plans regularly to find different ways to reach goals. And once they’ve hit them, they set even higher benchmarks until they become a twenty percenter.
80/20 on Income
A similar take on the 80/20 rule applies to your income. You may be surprised to learn that, for most business owners and employees, 80% of their income comes from just 20% of their clients. Knowing that, how can you make more money? Could you entice your best clients to buy two facials instead of one? Can you upsell an anti-aging treatment? What about upgrading some of the products you sell to a slightly higher price point? How can you make yourself stand out from the competition?
Walmart figured out this concept in a big way. An established favorite of discount shoppers, it added products and services such as in-store nail salons, free shipping, organic produce, fine wines, tires, groceries, toys, etc. Suddenly, it was a mega-store concept with customers at every level. Use Walmart’s example as your guide—work with what you’ve already developed, then make it ten times better. The 80/20 rule is one that anyone can easily implement, taking you from dreamer to a doer before you know it. It isn’t a matter of if you’ll encounter challenges along the way, but when. Success really is a choice, and while dreams are good, making them come true is even better.
Top Three 80/20 Rule Tips
1. Work smarter, not harder. Figure out which 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results and double down on those efforts. Stop spinning your wheels on lukewarm efforts.
2. Identify 20% characteristics. Identify the common characteristics of your top-spending 20% customers and go after more like them. For example, if your best customers are stay-at-home moms, think of ways to network and connect with that group more frequently. Ask them for referrals.
3. What enriches your life? Consider other ways the 80/20 rule can enrich your life. Which 20% of your relationships are giving you 80% of your joy? Which 20% of your bad habits are causing you 80% of your stress? Then, increase the percentage that is working in your favor and decrease the one that isn’t.