The 80/20 Rule

BY Deborah Simms




The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, was devised by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. In its simplest form, it infers that there is an 80-to-20 relationship between cause and effect.


Interestingly, this transcends disciplines and areas of life, for example:


20% of your wardrobe is what you wear 80% of the time (for me, that’s jeans and a t-shirt!)


In sports, 20% of athletes win 80% of the time.


In business, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers.


This is useful information to apply to a strategy to focus your attention and resources and your 20% ideal customer.


Some tips:

Track your email marketing opening rates and tab them. You can then make these customers the top priority for your sales and marketing content and even introduce personal/tailored mailouts. This will help your customer to feel valued and develop loyalty.

Apply the strategy to the location of your customers (through data websites like audience finder). You can then leverage this information when producing printed marketing to distribute it in the specific area you know your customers live.

Reset customer expectations: 80% of your problems come from just 20% of your difficult customers! This can lose precious time as a sole trader/maker. Be clear with your terms and conditions to manage expectations from your buyers to help streamline your services.

Planning work: When planning out your weekly ‘to do’ list, success coach Brain Tracey suggests asking yourself, “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or the bottom 80%?” Prioritise the actions that will move your projects forward.


Recommended resources:

The 80/20 principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch