Business leaders do what their businesses demand them to do. Business followers do what they want and what feels comfortable.  To be a business leader, you need to be a focused business planner—are you, or are you simply avoiding becoming one?

The two things that most business owners struggle with are planning ahead and doing things in order of importance.

Without being too academic, a leadership theory states that “thinking ahead and prioritising marks the differences between being a business leader or simply a follower.”  This is the difference between achieving business success and simply surviving!

You have probably heard of the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, which occurs in many aspects of life—for example, when reading a newspaper, 20% of the paper contains 80% of the news. You may have also found that 80% of all complaints come from 20% of customers.

So turning it around, 20% of your priorities will give you 80% of your outcomes when it comes to your business priorities—only if you spend your time, energy, money, and staff on the top 20% of your priorities.

Do this and get a fourfold return in productivity (what would that mean for your business!). Every business leader needs to understand the 80/20 rule as it applies to their products, services, customers, staff, and leadership.

Products and Services. Have you identified the 20% of your offering that gives you 80% of your profit?  Have you ever measured it?  What are you doing to sell more of these lines?

Customers. Have you identified the 20% of your customers who give you 80% of your business? What strategies have you put in place to care for them?

Staff. Now, think about your staff. Have you identified the top 20% of your team? Do you spend 80% of your “people time” with these staff? What can you do to develop them to their full potential?

Leadership. Ask yourself, what do I have to do in my business that no one else can do?  These are likely to be some of the more essential things you have to do, so you should be spending 80% of your time on these most important things.

Remember, a leader can give up everything except final responsibility. You can decide whether to be reactive or proactive!

Moving forward, the question you should ask yourself is not “How will I be busy?” but “How will I invest my time?”

Do what we told you to do and watch your productivity and personal satisfaction rise to new heights!