As a small business owner, you’ll have a lot of balls in the air. You’ll work on the business, focusing on the five key processes in your business, and also in your business, delivering your goods or services to your customers.
It’s up to you to simultaneously lead, manage, and do the work that delivers results in your business. While “working” might take up most of your time, leading and managing are also important, giving shape and direction to what you work on, how, and why.
Reflecting on how your business is going from a management perspective will also help you recognize opportunities to improve or streamline your operations, outsource low-value functions, create new revenue streams, and grow.
In order to manage and lead effectively, you’ll need to keep track of some key things in your business. These measures should, at a glance, help you understand how the business is doing and give you a basis for tracking performance over time and making necessary adjustments.
The measures that matter will depend both on the type of business you’re in and your overall business goals. Some will be things you look at monthly or quarterly (e.g. sales, prospecting activities, return on marketing investment), and others will be measures you’ll want to keep a close eye on daily or weekly (like accountants receivable and cash flow).
There are lots of things you can measure in your business to determine how things are going, such as:
You don’t need to over-manage your business or keep track of every single possible metric. Just pick 2 or 3 things that reflect your most important business goals and keep an eye on them.
If your most important goal is revenue, you might keep track of active clients or income to date. That will help you recognize if, for example, you need to focus more on sales next week to boost your numbers.
If you want to position yourself as having the fastest service in town, then keep track of speed.
Look at your key measures weekly, even if it’s only for a few minutes. As your business grows and you work on different and bigger goals, update what you’re keeping close track of accordingly.