Do you know that 80% of your results are derived from 20% of the time and effort you expend? Consequently, this same principle applies, whereas 80% of your time is virtually wasted on 20% of non-productive activities.
This is known as the Pareto Principle, also called the 80/20 Rule, and it states that for many events in your business and life, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
For example, the 80/20 Rule is often used in business as in, “80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.” or “80% of your sales come from 20% of your products.”
Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto first discovered the 80/20 Rule hundreds of years ago when he noticed that approximately 80% of Italian land in 1896 was owned by 20% of the population.
The 80/20 Rule is still applicable, especially when it comes to productivity. The trick is to discover what the 20% is in order to reap the 80%.
In practical terms, productivity is all about working smart and making the most of your available resources. In fact, there are several ways to enhance productivity in the workplace that can make a significant improvement when you apply a bit of thought and effort.
Here are four imaginative ways you can infuse more productivity into your small business using the 80/20 Rule to work smarter and not harder.
#1: Refine Or Develop A Core Business Process
In order to grow and scale, small businesses need to put the proper systems and structures in place that support their core business functions, such as a sales process, an email nurturing process, a customer onboarding process, etc.
It is only with consistent and repeatable, not ad hoc, business processes (i.e., systems and supporting structure) that you will be able to enhance productivity to a point where you can grow and scale your business.
Imagine how things in your organization would change for the better if you took the time to identify, analyze and improve an existing business process. When you can get everyone in your organization to march to the beat of the same drum, productivity abounds.
Think about your core processes and apply Pareto’s Principle. You may just reap an 80% boost in productivity simply by applying a 20% change to how things get done in your business.
#2: Establish A Communication Policy
Our entire world is built upon systems of communication. Unfortunately, miscommunication is too often practiced and is often the culprit that derails productivity in the workplace.
When people are not communicating, they are not productive. When people are in conflict due to miscommunication, they are not productive. For people to commit time effectively and focus on what’s important, things like fear, apprehension, and conflict must be eliminated at best and minimized at worst. The simple and most reliable way to do this is by having a communication policy in place within your organization.
Here too is an area where you can apply the 80/20 Rule. Remember, the 80/20 Rule means that in any area of your business, literally 80% of your results are derived from only 20% of doing “what matters most”. In other words, there is only a small portion of all that we do each day, regardless of the situation, which brings us the “higher return” – even in the area of communication.
So, what small change in communication would have the greatest impact?
#3: Fortify A Project Team With Knowledge
Have you ever considered making a small investment in the development of your project team by having members trained in an area that isn’t working as well as you’d like?
This is a perfect area to apply the 80/20 Rule. Since projects are growth vehicles for most small businesses, it is vital that each team member work at optimal productivity levels.
Look for the trouble spots with your project team and determine what solution is needed to yield an immediate and positive return. For example, would productivity increase if the team learned how to manage their time more effectively? Or, would productively improve if every team member was properly trained on the fundamentals of project management?
Just imagine how productive your team of employees would be if 80% of their time could be spent on more productive activities when they have the right knowledge to do the job correctly.
#4: Solicit New Ideas From Your Employees
Consider asking the employees in your organization what ideas they have for improving productivity. Perhaps on a monthly basis, open the suggestion box and set it next to the monthly donuts and bagels.
You may be a bit surprised to find that your people actually have some novel and ground-breaking ideas and all it takes is implementing a few good ones to infuse more productivity into your small business. I’m certain that you’ll find that 20% of the ideas will generate 80% of the improvements.
If you want to increase productivity in your business, then you should start implementing the 80/20 Rule immediately.
Using knowledge of the 80/20 Rule can be incredibly powerful in combating low productivity in any organization. While the change in your business will not happen overnight, with consistent application, you will see the change over time.
If you need more help determining what your 20% area is, click the button below and schedule a discovery call.