An Exception to the 80/20 Rule?

By November 23, 2010Blog

Recently Big Buzz Brands celebrated landing our biggest project ever. Pretty exciting stuff, you know? I thought I’d share some of the lessons we’ve learned in the process, because I think they could help any business looking to expand.

You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 Rule, which states that you probably get 80 percent of your business from 20 percent of your clients (or 80 percent of your profit from 20 percent of your demographics.) It’s a solid rule, and one that helps you focus your resources in a world where nothing is unlimited.

But I’d like to float a small exception to the 80/20 rule, one that I’ll call “Big Things Start Small.” The Disney empire started with a Mouse, after all.  In our case, we had developed a positive though small relationship with a business – with the eventual goal of completely revamping their brand identity.

However, they weren’t ready for that yet. And we could have simply decided that this meant they were a smaller client who wasn’t very profitable and didn’t deserve our attention. But that would have been a pretty big mistake.

We took a longer view. It was clear that there was still potential here, but that it would take some patience, and a period where we would prove ourselves worthy of the bigger job. We took a number of small jobs from them – and whether it was a t-shirt or a brochure, we displayed high quality, ease of process, and project success.

And when they were finally ready to commit to a larger brand makeover, guess who they contacted? That’s right, us. No extended RFP process needed. They made the call to go with us, because we had done right by them in the small things, and now they were ready to promote us to the large things.

So be sure that you aren’t too focused on your currently sizable clients that you’re missing potentially large clients. Because “Big Things Start Small.”