For success in business, foresight and focus are essential.
In my work with owners to make their companies more successful, I find there are two things almost all of them find challenging: thinking ahead and doing things in order of importance. The need for businesspeople to master these two skills is vital. They make the difference between success in business and just surviving. Moreover, the same is true for all areas of our lives.
Leadership trainer and author John Maxwell says, “Thinking ahead and prioritizing responsibilities marks the major differences between a leader and a follower.”
Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 Principle. Roughly stated this says that in most businesses 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers.
Hence, 20 percent of a business owner’s priorities will give him 80 percent of his production if he spends his time, energy, money and personnel on the top 20 percent of his priorities. When a business owner does this, he or she can get a 400 percent or fourfold return in productivity.
Every business person needs to understand the Pareto Principle as it applies to the areas of customers, team and leadership. In the area of customers, it is vital to identify the 20 percent who account for 80 percent of one’s business. These are also known as “raving fans” and strategies must be put in place to care for them appropriately.
Within his or her team, the business owner must identify the top 20 percent producers. It is important for the business owner to spend 80 percent of his people time with these top performers in order to develop them to their full potential.
In leadership, it is crucial to take an honest look at the question, “What do I have to do that no one else can do?” A leader is in a position to give up everything except final responsibility. A leader should decide whether he will be reactive or proactive when it comes to the use of his time.
The question is not, “Will I be busy?” but, “How will I invest my time?” It’s not “Will my calendar be full?” but, “Who will fill my calendar?” It’s not “Will I see people?” but, “Who will I see?”
Setting the right priorities that are aligned with your objectives, will boost your productivity and personal satisfaction and make your business grow to its full potential.
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