When I started my first business, I had no idea what I was doing. Fresh from the pool, with absolutely no experience, I had never had a job, let alone run an entire business- I felt like I was drowning! Looking back, there are a few pieces of advice I wish that I had been [...]
Numbers Do Count!
We put so much heart into our businesses, nurture them lovingly, thrill at their growth spurts, anguish through their hard times. We're inventive, creative, adaptable and persistent. Our business is about our life, our lifestyle, the people we touch along the way, the difference we make in the lives of others. It's never about the bottom line dollars alone.
Perhaps these are the reasons why so few women in business take measuring seriously enough. Numbers are boring, often difficult to get right, an effort to gather and collect, and sometimes numbers are even a little threatening. And - if we're really honest - the majority of people actually aren't all that sure how to use numbers properly in their business.
Maybe the idea of measuring awakens memories of chalky old maths teachers, "rank and yank" employee performance management systems, or sleep-inducing spreadsheets swimming with multitudes of senseless numbers.
How do you feel when you think about numbers, about measuring things in your business?
Why do you think you're not measuring success - beyond the traditional financial numbers like profit - in your business?
Why aren't you measuring the return you get from your marketing, in terms of leads per marketing dollar you spend? What stops you from measuring the percentage of leads you convert into new customers? Where are your measures of customer loyalty, product or service profitability, how well you use your time in your business, what your customers really think of your service, the size of the difference you're making in the world?
What are the results you care most about in your business, other than profit and revenue and costs? What are the results within your business activities that are the amplifiers of your business success?
If these results matter, then rest assured there's a way of measuring them meaningfully that is far better than not measuring them at all!
Measures keep you focused.
Measuring the right things in your business keeps your attention on what matters most to business success, rather than letting your attention meander and snap from distraction to time-wasting distraction.
If you find yourself thinking at the end of the day or the end of the week "where did my time go?", it's a clue that your attention may not be sticking to what really matters most.
Measures give you feedback.
Measuring regularly gives you a balanced and objective reality check on where your business is truly at, so you don't succumb to fluffy conclusions based on what happened today or last week or what your loudest customer said.
If your emotions about your business are up one week and down the next and you find you're reacting to events in time instead of responding to patterns over time, it's a clue that you're using the wrong information to drive your decisions.
Measures are like a fulcrum.
Measuring is a way to leverage your efforts so you get bigger improvements in your bottom line for the same or less time and money, not frittering it away on exciting ideas that don't actually work.
If you can't know what return you get for your advertising campaigns, your investment in personal development, hiring that new virtual assistant, it's a clue that you're wasting time and money in your business.
A sharper focus, regular and balancing feedback, and a leverage-boosting fulcrum. We all need more of that, especially in small business. That's what measuring does for us.
What's one result that matters enough to start measuring now in your business?
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