Mon, Nov 5, 2007
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule) is a phenomenon that was documented by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. It states that, for many things, 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes. For instance, you wear 20% of the clothes in your closet 80% of the time. This equation also affects your business, as in 80% of your income will come from 20% of your activities.
Unfortunately, many online business owners spend 80% of their time dealing with the stuff that isn’t directly bringing in business. Conversely, only 20% of the tasks you work on will bring most of your business. So how do you streamline your schedule and spend time where it really counts?
Have you ever noticed that the people who ask the most questions or are the most difficult are the people who place the smallest orders? While it is certainly important to provide great customer service, you can place a limit on your time. You can also tell a client that things just aren’t working out and recommend they go elsewhere.
For example, letâ€™s say you sell organic cosmetics and a potential customer wanted to know if the product was tested on animals. Once you researched the answer and got back to them, they wanted to know if the product is 80% or 100% organic, so then you research that answer and when you get back to them they have another question and then another, and so forth.
This exchange could go on for several days, and at the end of it, the potential customer may not buy at all. If a potential customer is â€œon the fenceâ€ about a sale, it is okay to ask them for the sale, and if they hesitate, to let them know you are available to help them place their order, once they are ready. It definitely feels good to get a sale and gain a new customer, but the time you spend chasing down small sales could be spent on the people who are willing to place large orders.
Another smart thing to do is create a thorough FAQ on your website. Always direct your customers to your FAQ first, then support. You can also outsource customer service to a Virtual Assistant (VA). Interestingly, it will often take a VA much less time to handle these tasks than it does you. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t emotionally invested in the outcome.
Email can be another huge waster. An entire book was written about this! Check your email after you’ve done the true money making activities. Use a timer and limit yourself to a half hour towards the end of the workday to respond to your email, or outsource that too. There may be some things you need to respond to yourself, but the vast majority can probably be handled by someone else, especially if you create form responses that your VA can use.
You may want to experiment a little by tracking the time you spend on various tasks to determine which ones are actually making you money. It only stands to reason that devoting more time to those activities will greatly increase your profits.
Carrie Lauth is a mom of 4 and the creator of the http://www.NaturalMomBusinessGuide.com It’s the Internet’s only complete tutorial for people who want to earn a full time living in the natural family life market. For more inspiration as well as rock solid advice to help you market your business, visit today.
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