I know. It feels like hopping on the scale. That dreaded moment that many women agonize over (me too!) when they get on the scale to check their weight. Time’s up! Was I good, or bad? Is there shame or self-doubt? Jubilation?
Body image aside, we need to get over that fear regarding our businesses. You need to know what your numbers are at all times. I strongly recommend at LEAST a monthly check-in. Don’t wait until the end of the quarter or (ye gads!) the end of the year.
If you have ongoing ad campaigns, then tracking those efforts is critical. How else can you improve or eliminate what is below an acceptable metric? How else can you do more of what is working well? You will be investing your time and/or money in your efforts, so measuring on a regular basis is key.
What numbers are we talking about? You get to decide.
Of course, your accountant and the IRS will want to know your revenue and your expenses, so those are a given. One of my favorite books, “Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” has recommended healthy percentages of revenue, profit, operating expenses and taxes based on where you are in your business.
But those are not the only things, by far, that you should be tracking. Here are a few key things (frequently called Key Performance Indicators) that you can be measuring monthly, and these will vary based on the business you are in:
New customers or clients
Size of email list
FB page likes
FB group participants
Podcast interviews conducted
Speaking gigs given
Free discovery calls
Networking events attended
Some of these are very dollar oriented, and others are softer measures, but nonetheless, important to track growth. You are expanding your revenue as well as your visibility (online and offline), so the more improvement on the latter, the more likely it will reflect in revenue.
Strong tracking leads to solid strategy.
Once you are tracking regularly, you will know how many cold calls (or ads, or event attendees, or outreach of any kind) you will need, and at what cost, to yield x number of discovery calls. With time, you will see that 10 free discovery calls will usually net you 2-3 new clients. (A 20-30% conversion is not bad for the early stages. As you get better at sales, or have a seasoned sales team, that number should be much better). Your numbers will be different if you are running a chiropractic business, or a high end consulting firm, but the model holds. This will set you for a realist lead funnel.
Once you have your metrics in place, you will develop some benchmarks that will allow you to create realistic and stretch goals for each area.
You will be able to identify what is going well or which areas need improvement. It will allow you to create an action plan based on results that will allow you to improve.
Think of this exercise as an “aha” moment rather than a call to judgment.