Tracking a company’s key business metrics is essential in determining next steps and in planning for the future. Although each business owner has her own methods for running her business, every business owner can benefit from the following advice regarding tracking business performance:
Use measurable marketing systems. Because marketing often requires a significant investment of time and/or money, it is important that the systems a business owner employs be measurable. For example, Google “pay per click” advertising can track how many Internet users get a certain company’s link during a search and how many visit the link. Creating measurable marketing systems can be as simple as sending out coupons customers can bring in, or providing a discount to customers who mention a radio or TV ad, or asking customers to fill out a quick survey about how they heard about the business. In this way, a business owner can decide whether her resources are well-spent.
Study existing customer relationships. By sending out a quick e-mail survey or questionnaire to existing customers, a business owner can gather information about what she’s doing well, what she could work to improve, and which services she might want to consider adding or cutting. For example, if she sells books, games and toys, and customers report that they really come to her store for the games and books, she could redirect some of her resources from toys to add games and books. In another scenario, a business owner may be advertising in multiple venues, hoping that one of them will catch a customer’s attention. By interviewing her customers, she may discover that the majority of them discovered her through one particular advertising venue – and she could then better focus her advertising efforts.
Gather testimonials. Business owners who gather testimonials are really achieving two great things at once: they’re attaining future marketing material, and they’re learning what they do best, according to their customers. By asking for feedback, a business owner can learn which of her products or services are the most successful – and she can focus on them.
Tracking a business’ performance metrics is absolutely critical in determining its best next steps – and they may come as a surprise. Not only can an entrepreneur discover whether her resources are being spent as wisely as possible, she can also use performance information to hone her products and services and to grow her business.
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