I see so many business owners float through the days, months, and years without truly knowing how their business is doing. They steer the ship by guessing and hoping. Now I am an advocate of trusting your intuition, listening to your gut, and not always letting your head rule your choices. But let’s not confuse intuitive intelligence with sticking your head in the sand and hoping.
Measuring matters. Period. It doesn’t have to be scary, intimidating, or take up a lot of time. Most working mothers managed to put little pencil marks on the wall to measure their kid’s growth, right? It doesn’t have to be harder than that in your business.
You don’t have to be a numbers geek to succeed in business or use a spreadsheet. Scared of spreadsheets? Get creative… use marbles in glass jars if you have to, but have a tangible way to gauge the results of the actions you take.
Here are 5 things to measure every week. Start tracking these consistently and you will have business intelligence worth yearning for that will lead you to higher and more consistent profits.
I personally track money on a daily basis.
- What money has been committed (aka new contracts being signed)
- What money has been received (actually deposited, no “the check’s in the mail” nonsense).
Equally important is what money is being spent. I track this weekly.
Where are you spending your time each day?
- Delivering services to clients?
- Engaged in sales conversation?
- Doing administrative tasks?
Know what you are doing and how long it is taking you. Time is one of the 3 elements of profit. I might add that to me time is the most precious of all the factors because how we spend our time is how we spend our life.
Leads & Conversions
Are you generating new leads every week? If so, how many? When you speak to prospects, how many actually hire you? Understanding your prospect process and sales cycle is critical. You can get all-fancy about tracking this or use a simple piece of paper or basic spreadsheet. Just start to understand what your sales cycle looks like so you can plan your actions and projections accordingly.
If I had a dollar for every client who came to me not knowing where they were spending their marketing dollars and what was working (or not) I would be wealthy enough to retire tomorrow. Yes you need to market AND you need to be conscious about what you are doing, what it costs (time and money), and what results you desire. Then measure the return on your efforts. ROI is a fancy way of saying – am I getting a positive benefit from the time, money, and effort I am investing?
Progress on Goals & Plans
It can be easy to get stuck in the mire of day-to-day and then look up and realize an entire quarter or year has gone whooshing by. Keep tabs weekly on the status and progress of your more strategic goals and plans. Are you on track? Are you never making time to act on the important, not urgent things? How are you feeling about your goals?
Is the way you are conducting yourself on a day-to-day basis aligned with how you most want to experience your life and your business?
If you are exhausted, feel like crap, let your relationships deteriorate or find yourself hating your life, no amount of financial success of business opportunities can fill that hole. Schedule time to retreat, reflect, and realign before you find yourself in a black hole (that’s why you want to assess this weekly!).
I always say – use your numbers as guides, not gospel. Build a habit of measuring what matters and tracking it regularly. It will keep your business nimble while paving the way toward true profitability.