Founders, Meet Your New BFF: The 80-20 Principle


I’m gearing up to make those decorated sugar cookies later today with my daughter – one of my favorite things to do during the holidays.

And because I’m offering my free weekly content to you on the subject of delegation, I’ve got to fess up to something.

Those cookies we’re making? I’m using store-bought sugar cookie dough. Yes, I’ve effectively outsourced the dough making to my friend, the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

My daughter and I love to decorate, not make dough.

Starting to see the connection here?

Entrepreneurs and small biz owners are pretty darn challenged at delegation. Sometimes that’s due to cash flow, other times we just think we can get it done faster/better/etc. than hiring it out. Or, maybe you’ve said this one or two times: “It’s faster for me to do it myself instead of delegate it.”

It may be faster, Jedi, but it’s not smarter.

As the founder, your businesses’ success depends on you growing it and making it more profitable. There are certain things that only you can do to grow your business. Delegation should be all about focusing on doing those things, and those things only, and work toward delegating the rest.

Notice I said work toward; I know that it’s a process not an event. I’m living it myself at both of my companies, Verde and the Intrepid Entrepreneur.

This blog post is your springboard to make 2016 the year that you know exactly where you should be focusing your time to get your business to the next level. Yes, to turn pro at delegation!

Turning pro at delegation begins with cozying up to the Pareto, or 80-20 Principle. It states that 20-percent of your customers equal 80-percent of your sales, or that 20-percent of tasks / work equal 80-percent of sales and revenue. Forbes puts it this way:

“If you can figure out which 20% of your time produces 80% of your business’ results, you can spend more time on those activities and less time on others. Likewise, by identifying the characteristics of the top 20% of your customers (who represent 80% of your sales), you can find more customers like them and dramatically grow your sales and profits.”

Do what matters and try NOT to do what doesn’t matter, in terms of what only YOU can do to move the needle forward for your business… Make sure your team/coworkers know what YOUR 80-20 is, so that they can help you do that for the business.

Delegation is an all-in commitment that combines a clear sense of your purpose in your business, strong mindset and discipline and permission to go bigger with your vision.

Learning to delegate requires awareness and also a focus on systemization of your business and capturing process. Therefore, there will be some “front loading” work, that is very important to implement.

You need to do the work up front to set up the systems and processes to ensure delegation can successfully happen in your company. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs I’ve helped or been mentored by myself look back at their businesses and noticed that big growth happened after they built these processes and systems. When they delegated successfully, their business TOOK OFF!

Here are my top 3 ways to implement the 80-20 principle as an entrepreneur:

1 – Practice putting your passion first. My entire foundation for coaching entrepreneurs is to build a business that supports an amazing life. And to have an amazing life, you MUST prioritize your passions. Schedule them in! Regularly enjoying your passions pretty much guarantees the best creative downloads possible for your business. Does that make enjoying your passions part of your 20-percent (that yields 80-percent of your success)? Damn right! This is no joke guys – this is what will enable you to differentiate, innovate and stay engaged and stoked on all you’re building in your company.

2 – What tasks are the tasks that ONLY you can do to propel your business forward? This can / will take some analysis and just plain old being honest with yourself. In my ideal vision for you, you’ll know what your 80-20 is, as will anyone you employ. Your team will be highly motivated to protect your time to accomplish what ONLY you can do, because that’s what is best for the business. When you’re in THAT zone, everyone benefits.

3 – Identify your ideal clients and focus on getting more of them! Your ideal clients are those who you wish you could have 100 more of, and yes, this means profitability AND personality fit. Read this article on “Entrepreneur’s Life” to get more perspective on implementing this concept.

What if you’re business is literally just starting up and there’s no one to delegate to? I’ve so been there! Here’s what I recommend (for efficiency and sanity): Make a list of the things you want to delegate. Then, look at that list with discipline and figure out if any of the items on that list are also things that ONLY you can do for your business (so you should have two lists, what only you can do, and what you can delegate). Once a month, religiously, build out systems and process on those things you’ve identified to delegate or outsource. Think “how can I make this easily repeatable,” and “how can I set up someone to successfully do this as I’d like to see it done?”

By the time you’re ready to outsource, you’ll have training done and can efficiently assign out the tasks. Plus, it’s just nice to know that you’re ready to delegate with this two-list system, it helps you see the light at the end of the solo-preneur tunnel.

Here’s a good read on this important topic: Richard Koch (80-20) Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less.

Here are some great online resources for delegation/outsourcing:

  • Human Resources:
    • (this is an exceptional HR resource, you can look at candidates (with a “pro” subscription) and take video tutorials on using as a great HR tool

I hope that his was helpful to you! If you want to share your wins or challenges around delegation, I would LOVE to hear from you! Drop me a line by using Speakpipe voice messaging on the “podcasts” page of my site, or send me a note to See you next week!

(PS – Our Christmas cookies are SO not going to look like the ones in this photo…. Just sayin’)