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What To Track In Your Business

Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story if You’re Tracking the Wrong Ones

In the online business world, numbers are important – everyone looks at social media followers, newsletter subscribers, and website visitors, and points to those as indicators of success.

The truth is this: Female business owners are comparing themselves to others using the wrong “numbers” and then setting goals around those wrong numbers. Business owners are tracking things that don’t ultimately lead to “true business growth.” I know this, because I’ve been there.

Many years ago, I heard this quote “what gets counted multiplies.” In many ways this has been true in my life and for my business. The challenge is knowing what to count and what you want to multiply.

That's why I've made spreadsheet after spreadsheet after spreadsheet. I believe strongly in tracking valuable information for my business. But what I discovered is that many of those spreadsheets were tracking all the wrong things. They were multiplying results but not the real results I needed and wanted.

I got caught up thinking that what other business owners were posting on social media and in their newsletters was most important. But, what I realized was that data like the number of Facebook fans you have, the number of Twitter followers, newsletter subscribers, and even website visitors we're not the numbers that truly indicated business success.

And yet, I spent a lot of time and emotional energy trying to figure out why I wasn't getting the numbers that others were posting. That continued until I met a woman who had 20,000 fans on her Facebook page. Talk about impressive. When I sat down to talk with her, she explained that her business was in the red. Her business was in debt -- not in financial success. So, while I did not have the numbers of Facebook fans she had, my business was in the black. My business was in a financial place of success, not in a place of debt.

That was when I realized that I wasn't the only one tracking the wrong numbers. I wasn't the only one thinking that success look like a large number of Facebook fans, hundreds of LinkedIn connections and
thousands of email subscribers.

Track This, Not That

The social media followers/newsletter subscribers, and website visitors are enthralling, but they don’t tell an accurate story, or the right story. Often, business owners who use online channels to do business don’t track the right things. The reason is simple: there are numbers they aren’t tracking because they are distracted counting numbers that don’t count.

Since I’ve had that moment of clarity or “lightbulb moment,” I’ve realized there are many things that mean much more about the success or failure of a business.

  1. Conversions, Not Fans and Followers.
    It’s nice to know the number of fans and followers, but there are three categories of conversions that are far more important:
    a: Clients
    b: Newsletter readers
    c. Referral partners.
    Nor is it as valuable as knowing where those fans and subscribers came from.
  2. Actions Taken By People Who Visit Your Website, Not Hits to Your Website.
    The number of people visiting your website is not as valuable as the number of those visitors who took an action on your site, like signing-up for your newsletter, liking your FB page, sending you an email, reading a blog entry, or took some other action to get to your website.

    This also helps to validate whether your funnels and marketing strategies are working. It's also more helpful to know which pages your visitors visit most often, and which pages they view the longest.

    It's also good to know which blog topics your visitors read most about. As this will help you understand your audience's needs and help you to create more powerful and more valuable blogs.

  3. Actions Taken By Subscribers, Not The Number of Subscribers.
    The number of subscribers to your email newsletter is not as important as the number of those subscribers who purchase a
    service or product from you. Knowing the links they choose to click on for more information and how many of your readers share your newsletter with those are far more powerful categories. That’s how you measure your impact.
  4. Quality and Ease of Referrals, Not the Number of Referrals.
    The number of referrals you get is not as valuable as the quality of those referrals, the ease of those referrals getting started with you and the results you're able to create with and for those referred to you.

    This type of data can help you improve your referral relationships; thereby not only increasing the number of referrals gained but also increasing the value you offer those referrals and your referral partners.

  5. Results of Your Work With Clients, Not The Number Of Clients You Work With.
    The number of clients you work with is not always as valuable as what results do you create with those clients. Potential clients are sure to be impressed if you're serving hundreds or even thousands of
    clients however they are more likely to be impressed if you have a statistic that says 90% of the clients served stated they received a value higher than the price they paid for the service. Or a statistic that says 65% of clients have returned for additional services. This statistic shows that your clients not only gained a result but found that result to be so valuable that they want to continue service with you.

So you’ve made it this far and you’ve discovered what I believe are the key metrics to track to accurately determine the success of your business. What do you do next? Start, and don’t let yourself get stuck in mundane tasks that don’t make a difference.

Start tracking the more valuable data for your business. Create the spreadsheets for tracking the information and create the means necessary to gather the information. This could be surveys, report or even simple email communications.

Don't get stuck on making the data collection or the spreadsheets perfect or pretty. It's the data that counts, not the aesthetics of the data.

If you'd like some support, I would be honored to be your coach.

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