November 30, 2011

You Manage What You Measure

One of my favourite bosses worked by the motto “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth measuring”. When I whined that something just couldn’t be measured, he would say, “There’s always something to measure.” And he was always right.

It’s an important concept for small business owners. Having a set of metrics that you watch and that you feel are the key drivers of your success, helps you keep clarity. If you don’t have goals stated for your company, and if you don’t regularly measure how you’re doing against those goals, you won’t have your resources focused on the right priorities.

The more public you can make your goals the better. Transparency of goals drives performance because it creates both a commitment and a sense of urgency. Commitment and urgency are key drivers of success.

People often measure the wrong stuff, or measure with the wrong precision (either too high-level or too detailed). There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach but there are two pretty universal measures:
Customer Acquisition – new, lost, average sale, cost to acquire, etc.
Revenue Metrics – especially trends

The ‘how’ of implementation will vary among companies and figuring that out can be a challenge, but I guarantee that you will learn more about your business and be in a better position to make strategic decisions.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on November 30, 2011

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