Key numbers you should know 1-4-15-60-20

Most of the people in your business sector are wrong, most of the time.

That’s a pretty bold assertion. Let me explain why.

Market dynamics

In any given market of a reasonable size these key numbers reflect the distribution of performance in that market.

  • 1% are super successful
  • 4% are doing really well
  • 15% are doing ok and getting there
  • 60% are getting by, often hand to mouth
  • 20% are failing

So 80% of business in your market are getting it wrong.


Right now.

That’s why so many businesses fail within the first two years of setting up.

The dawn of the internet

15 years ago the internet was relatively new and businesses were only just starting to explore the possibilities. Google AdWords launched towards the end of 2000. Businesses that were enlightened took the plunge and made millions of pounds and dollars from being early adopters.

I know several businesses that have spent over a million pounds per year on AdWords campaigns. These are not large multi-nationals. These are savvy, switched on small businesses. They knew for every £ they spent on AdWords they would generate £3 or £5 or even £10 in sales. They knew because they could track what they spent and the return they got from it.

They did things differently from the mass of businesses. They stood for out and took action. They were in then 1% and 4%. Those that spotted their success and followed pretty quickly were in the 15%.

The 60% dabbled but couldn’t get it to work or didn’t track the numbers. They didn’t get educated in the new areas of marketing. The 20% stuck their head in the sand and hoped the internet would go away.

It happened to me – so I learned

My first consultancy business was in the 80%. Started in 2003 we bumbled along for 7 often painful years, just about surviving the financial crisis before calling it a day. When I set up my current business, I looked back at why the first had struggled and it was because of a lack of knowledge and understanding about marketing and sales and I vowed to put the right.

Social media

In the mid to late 2000’s social media was born and once again the early adopters creamed it, leaving the 80% in their wake. Now, every business needs to have a presence on social media. The 20% still have their head stuck in the sand and pretty much ignore it.

The 60 % are forever in catch-up mode. They know they need to do something, but what? Facebook changes almost as frequently as Google and there are new entrants all the time. So they end up throwing stuff out there hoping some of it will stick.

What the top 20% do

What are the top 20% doing? Well the top 20% really know their markets and have clear, targeted messages they want to get out to those markets. So as they see new developments in social media they look to see which markets adopt them. If their target market is using Snapchat then they test, measure and adjust their use of it. And if it works, they go large! They amplify their use and make it their own.

The 1% and 4% lead the charge here. Being really successful gives you the confidence and the funds to try these things. The 15% look at what the top 5% are doing and quickly follow suit on what works best.

What can you do?

The difference between the top 20% and the 80% isn’t as great as you might think. Yes the difference in financial terms can be huge but that is merely a consequence of the real difference. It’s not about the funds to invest in stuff or even the knowledge of how to do stuff. And it’s certainly not about luck.

The real difference

The real difference is attitude – your attitude. If you have a “can’t do” attitude then the age old saying will always be true:


If you always do what you always did,

you’ll always get what you always got

You have to be different from the pack, different from the masses. Different from the 80% that are almost always wrong!

So you have to have a “can do” attitude and get yourself educated. With the right networking and business support groups and plenty of high quality e-learning available, there really is no excuse.

But learning is only productive if it leads to implementation. That’s what the top 1% and 4% do – they learn and implement. Then they test, measure and adjust. You can do the same but on a smaller scale. And the 15% see what works best for the tope guys and apply it in their markets, also testing, measuring and adjusting for themselves.

You CAN emulate that. But remember, it starts with knowing your markets and having clear, segmented messages for those markets.

My experience

When I set up my current business I was focussed on project management consulting and training. A clear market, segmented by industry. I had clear messages on what I had to offer – the benefits I brought to the table. Where did my target market hang out – LinkedIn. So I had the three magic criteria sorted:

Market – Message – Media

The result

Virtually all my project management training and consulting revenues since 2010 have been generated as a result of LinkedIn. If I could have cloned myself, I could have made 3 or 4 times as much money.

  • LinkedIn was the place that I knew I could find my target market
  • LinkedIn enabled me to demonstrate the benefits I deliver
  • LinkedIn provided the recommendations that backed up my statements with social proof
  • LinkedIn provided me with the means to find and connect with my target market
  • LinkedIn enabled me to bypass PAs and gatekeepers and get conversations with target clients

Help for you

Whatever market you are in LinkedIn provides the platform to showcase you and your business, to demonstrate your credibility, to prove your expert authority. If you are selling to other businesses then it can also be the source or high quality, qualified leads for your business.

I now help businesses leverage online marketing and social media – especially LinkedIn – to step out of the 80% and into the 20%. If you have the attitude I have the programme that provides the learning for you to implement. Check out the LinkedIn Business Advantage Programme by clicking on the link or the image below.