Measuring things that actually matter

by Michele on May 4, 2011

Measure things that actually matter

Measure things that actually matter

One of the most important things you can do to continue to build your business is to measure how well your efforts are working. There’s tons of information out there about things you must do, should do, would be foolish not to do, etc. but really the only criteria for deciding whether to do something is if it works for you. I love this analogy: When a plane takes off, it’s almost always pointed in the wrong direction because runways are only built in certain directions. Once the plane is airborne, the pilot looks at his controls and determines how to adjust his direction. At that point, the pilot has just 3 options: continue in the same direction, fire the left thruster to turn right or fire the right thruster to turn left. He or she makes a choice and repeats the process once the new direction is established. The pilot continues to repeat this process until reaching the destination.

It’s much like that in our business. We can take a good guess at what direction in which to start, but we’re unlikely to have the best answer right off the bat. Once we make a business choice, we then have to determine if it’s helping us get to our goals and readjust course if necessary. If you find that you are off-course, don’t give up – instead, make a small adjustment that brings you closer to the right course.  This is the basis for building a successful business, not getting everything correct right out of the gate.

However, the critical thing to decide is WHAT to measure. It’s easy to focus on things that can be easily seen in numbers – how many Twitter followers, how many Facebook fans, how many newsletter subscribers, how much website traffic, etc but those figures alone may not give you the information you need to course correct. How will getting that magic number of followers, fans, subscribers or visitors get you where you want to go?  What comes after “so that?” For example, “I want 10,000 Facebook fans so that…………….”

If you are looking for single pieces of data that can inform you by themselves, you may want to think about things like:

  • gross sales
  • number of customers
  • number of sales

These are figures that will help you determine if your business is growing. There are also more complex pieces of data that can be helpful such as the percentage of people who buy after visiting a sales page or which products make up your gross sales. I’ll cover these in a later post, but for now I encourage you to not only start doing some measurement but also to make sure you are measuring things that matter.

What do you measure in your business? How is it helpful to you?  Leave a comment and tell me about it.

(PS – measurement is one of the skills I cover in my free e-course “5 Essential Skills for Solopreneur Success.”  If you’re reading this on my blog, sign up using the box to the right.  Otherwise, head to my homepage and sign up there.)


  1. […] his business strategy, big traffic is really important.  In mine, it’s not.  That led to a post on how it’s important not only to measure your results but to make sure you’re […]

  2. Thanks. This was very helpful. More importantly, it pointed me in the right direction to take with a client. I didn’t even know, I didn’t know the answer…… But I do now.

    1. Michele says:

      Glad it was helpful!

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