I’ve been helping businesses fix their numbers for a long time, and most operations fall into one of two categories: You either have metrics that you watch carefully, or you don’t.
If you’re not tracking some key items, it’s time to start. If you’re already tracking them, I’d be willing to bet that you’re watching too many. In either case, your course of action will be pretty similar.
Pick a small handful of factors that move your bottom line, and keep an eye on them. Choose the metrics that make a real difference; so think units sold rather than clicks to your website.
I recently worked with an organization that had 15 KPIs (key performance indicators, or just “important metrics” if you’re not trying to impress anybody). When I quizzed people about what the actual numbers were for these metrics, nobody had any answers for me. Why? Because 15 is way too many metrics to actually track and use. The team had just stopped paying attention.
The right number of metrics is going to be somewhere between “I don’t have any” and “Yeah, I keep meaning to check on that one.” Generally, I found that 3-5 is a manageable number that keeps me aware of the important stuff.
The actual metrics to track will come down to your business. If you’re a small venture, your most important metric might just be cash flow this week. These are some other important metrics to consider:
Recently, I had two colleagues recommend The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, and if this resonated with you and you want some further reading on this and other business management topics, I’d highly recommend it.