Recently, we noticed various blogs and presentations referring to business rules. We wondered, “How many business rules are there?”
The answer? A LOT! We explore eight priceless business rules you need to know when operating your small or mid-size business.
Because business rules are like roadmaps. They chart a researched path leading to a desired destination. Take a slight detour, and you waste valuable energy and resources. Take a big detour, and you’re likely to get lost.
Business Rule #1
The 80/20 Rule: Prioritize What’s Most Impactful
The 80/20 rule is arguably the most well-known in business circles. Also called the Pareto principle, it has been around for more than a century. The 19th-century Italian economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto first suggested the 80/20 principle. He purported that 20% of causes result in 80% of the consequences.
Applied in business, it suggests:
- 80% of your profits typically come from 20% of your customers
- 80% of your sales are generated by the top 20% of your salesforce
- 20% of your customers will pay four times more if you offer a new, valuable product or service
- 80% of success is from 20% of your ideas or efforts
In other words, it’s easier to upsell existing customers than to chase new business. Furthermore, it pays to focus on customers and activities that impact your business the most.
One rule of caution here: while applying the rule, spread the business love around. I worked at an agency that was busy focusing on three accounts for one company. When that company pivoted, our branding agency never recovered.
Business Rule #2
70/30 Rule: Work on a Plan, But Be Creative and Adaptable
The 70/30 Rule reminds us that sticking to established methods helps achieve 70% of goals.
- 30% of success/revenue comes from adapting to new market conditions rather than adhering doggedly to the original plan
- Dedicate 70% of your time to essential activities and 30% to developing new ideas, tactics, strategies, and approaches
- Forecast 70% of outcomes and leave 30% wiggle room for unforeseen changes in your annual plan
In sum, embrace a culture of creative problem-solving, innovative approaches, and inventive thinking.
Business Rule #3
2×2 Rule: Get to the Point
The 2×2 Rule encourages everyone to prepare two facts about their company that can be shared in two minutes or less.
This 2×2 Rule allows small- or mid-size businesses and teams to achieve the following objectives:
- Arm your salespeople with essential pitch information that is concise, effective, and memorable
- Deliver a powerful punch, highlighting your capabilities in networking situations
- Tell your story in less time for more focused and productive meetings—no matter what the meeting topic is
- Honor everyone’s time
Up your game. Be sure everyone in your company can articulate two uniquely distinguishing facts that separate your organization from the competition in two minutes or less. Additionally, focus on just two desired outcomes for each meeting.
Business Rule #4
The 3/30/3 Rule: Capture Attention
The 3/30/3 Rule refers to capturing attention with your content.
- Within the first 3 seconds, viewers determine whether your content sufficiently captures their attention
- If it does, you’ve earned another 30 seconds of the readers’ time to prove your value
- If viewers remain engaged for 3 minutes, it is likely that they have a strong interest in your content
Effective communication relies on an almost instant connection. Create powerful messages, enticing, compelling content, and exciting visuals that are:
- Easy to understand, and
- Highlight your value proposition.
Try putting your current content to the test. Does it meet the 3/30/3 Rule?
Business Rule #5
5/3/2 Social Media Rule: Focus on What’s Important to Your Audience
Put the focus on your audience, not yourself. TA McCann, founder and CEO of Senosis (acquired by Google) and Gist (acquired by Blackberry and Rival IQ (marketing analytics), explains how to effectively structure social content by adhering to this rule:
- “5” refers to the first 50% of your content. Use reliable sources other than your own organization. Be relevant to your audience. For example, you might share quantifiable facts and quotes from proven authorities.
- “3” is the next 30% of your content. This percentage comes from your company. Similar to the first 50%, it should also be relevant to your audience. For instance, you might reveal company expertise, benefits, and solutions.
- “2” refers to the last 20% of your content. This is your own unique personal content. It should differentiate you from others. It’s intended to humanize your brand.
Do not overlook the importance of the personal touch. This is your opportunity to connect with your audience, help them get to know you, and make your content more memorable. It should have an addictive quality that makes your audience want to come back again and again because they like your style.