What is the most important part of your day?
For many lawn business owners, the most important part of the day is the morning, when they schedule services, dispatch crews, and get most of their office work out of the way.
How long is the most important part of your day?
It could be much shorter than you think. Most business owners don’t realize that they get most of their work done in about 20% of the working day.
This is due to something called the 80/20 rule – and once you know about it, the 80/20 rule can have a very powerful impact on how you run your business.
Chris Volpe, our resident 80/20 expert (one of his many areas of expertise), will explain:
How Does the 80/20 Rule Apply to Your Lawn Care Business?
Richard Koch so beautifully argues that the 80/20 rule doesn’t fit inside your business. Rather, your business fits inside the 80/20 rule. You can’t avoid this inequality in your business, so you may as well learn to use it to your advantage.
If you want to dive further into the rule (also called Pareto’s Principle), read Richard Koch’s critically acclaimed book, The 80/20 Principle, where he’ll reveal how to focus on the vital few and not on the trivial many. You’ll learn how to spot the 20% of your customers that generate 80% of your revenue. Moreover, you’ll learn how to apply the 80/20 rule to yourself and improve time management.
Let’s explore the latter.
80/20 Time Management
To say owning a business is a full time job would be an understatement. We all know 40 hour workweeks just don’t exist for you. Keeping up with all of the demands can be exhausting, but using the 80/20 rule, let’s budget your time like you budget your money (both are finite and precious commodities, right?).
Pareto’s Principle would argue that you accomplish 80% of your daily tasks in a mere 20% of your time spent working. The flip side is this seemingly more depressing stat: 20% of what you do daily consumes 80% of your time! Fortunately, there is a way to leverage this inequality into an opportunity.
Here’s one example: email. Adobe recently did a study and discovered just how addicted we are to checking that little *ding* notification on our phones. According to Adobe, on average we spend 6 hours a day checking our email, or 30 hours a work week. While this one stat is grounds enough to argue for hiring an assistant, I know most won’t, so here are some ways you can buy back more time:
Set a rule to only check your email 2-3 times a day: once in the morning and again in the afternoon (and once at night if you’re jonesing). In your email signature, give exact times for when you check your email everyday. While it may seem a little unorthodox, your clients will appreciate the clear communication, and they won’t expect you to respond immediately to every single message.
Apprehensive about only checking your email 2-3 times a day? Then consider an app like SaneBox. This will at least remove the unnecessary emails from your main inbox and only show you important messages (i.e. client inquiries).
Once you reduce the amount of time you spend checking emails, you can focus on more valuable, revenue-producing activities: gaining leads, upselling, branching into new services, etc.
Revolutionize Time Management for Your Entire Company
In a previous blog post, we showed you how to gain geographic density. 80% of your customers most likely come from 20% of the zip codes that you service. It’s time to turn that inequality into an opportunity.
Many other companies try to push their services into new areas, and measure their success by how many zip codes they work in. This is the opposite of what you want to do. Using the 80/20 rule, you want to focus on where you already have geographic density – and make it even more dense. Spend more time and more money pursuing neighborhoods where you already perform services. The less you move your van, the less operating costs you acquire, therefore making each job more profitable.
Every company has the goal of growth. With the 80/20 rule in mind, it becomes easy to see that you have more important zip codes and less important zip codes. The 20% of zip codes where 80% of your customers live just became your main service area. Now “growth,” a horribly ambiguous term, just became much more objective and achievable.
Less guesswork. Less risk. That’s what the 80/20 rule is about.
Whether you’re working with big commercial accounts, or you maintain a thousand lawns a year – the 80/20 rule can help you transform your business. Keep an eye out for more posts regarding this ridiculously useful idea.
Patrick Hoffman is Marketing Director at Service Autopilot. He specializes in managing marketing campaigns and giving marketing strategies to the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's reading books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction.