Posts in Objective

Quit Calling Objectives “Goals” – Just Quit It

January 22nd, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business is ART, Goal, Objective 0 thoughts on “Quit Calling Objectives “Goals” – Just Quit It”

This might be a little nit-picky, but, there is a difference between goals and objectives. Goals, by nature, are not particularly SMART…you know:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

These are actually the characteristics of well-defined objectives. You measure your progress toward achievement of goals through objectives. Objectives support goals.

We said that goals are not particularly SMART. That is more than just a cute play on words and acronyms. Goals are more of a destination – more like an “Are we there yet?”

SMART objectives invite you to be realistic and in a hurry. Goals invite you to dream big and be more concerned with the getting there than the speed with which you do.

That’s why we take a little bit of umbrage with this article at Entrepreneur entitled Set Goals for Your Employees. Don’t get us wrong, we completely agree with setting goals for employees.

And at the risk of sounding a little Sheldon Cooper-ish, we actually do agree with the content of the article – as long as you substitute the word “objective” in 95% of the instances the article actually uses the word “goal.”

With that in mind, here are a few comments on the main points/recommendations of the article:

  1. “Set goals with employees” – Yes! We love it. This is part of including your employees in developing the strategy. It adds buy-in and promotes an environment in which employees are engaged.
  2. “Reevaluate goals frequently” – No! Not unless you frequently change your mind about where you want to go (a goal is a destination). But do frequently evaluate objectives.
  3. “Make goals specific and measurable” – No! Goals are decidedly grandiose and not measurable in themselves. Make supporting objectives SMART which includes their being specific and measurable.
  4. “Goals don’t have to be tied to sales” – Correct! Nor profits. We like value-based goals as opposed to profit and sales driven goals. Focus on the types of goals that will really get employees engaged in the business on an emotional level.
  5. “Make sure employees goals are attainable” – No! Goals are big and lofty. Never measure an employee’s performance based on big, lofty goals. Rather, do it on objectives, which, yes, should be attainable.
  6. “Be consistent” – Absolutely. And you can start by consistently not misusing the word “goal” in place of the word “objective.”
  7. “Watch your timing” – Wrong! Not for goals. They are long term. Objectives are time-bound.
  8. “Avoid rivalry” – Ehhhh….this one feels a little like “everyone gets a participation trophy.” A little FRIENDLY rivalry in-house can be healthy. Just don’t allow it to create clicks and jerks.
  9. “Set goals that tie employees into the success of your company” – Correct! Set objectives that tie employees into the success of your company.

This might all sound a little nit-picky, but it is important to remember the distinction between goals and objectives. Know the difference and plan accordingly.

PUT IT TO USE!

Reach Your Goals with Measurable Objectives

Now that you know the difference between “Goals” and “Objectives”, let’s put that knowledge to use! Plan Canvas helps you identify, communicate and track goals, objectives, initiatives, action items and more in one convenient, easy to access, easy to use tool.

Do Employees Really Need a Sense of Purpose?

January 18th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Goal, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Uncategorized 1 thought on “Do Employees Really Need a Sense of Purpose?”

“Executing a strategy without engaged people is impossible, and brilliant strategies without execution are meaningless.”

That’s how an article at Inc., entitled Why Strategy Without Execution Will Get You Nowhere begins.

It’s like we wrote that ourselves. In fact, we have written very similar statements on numerous occasions. Want to know why? Because it’s true.

It’s mid-January. By now, a large percentage of New Years resolutions have already been long forgotten. That’s true in business as well as personal life. Businesses often end the year giddy with the excitement about the new plans and strategies they’ve developed for the new year.

“We’re going to do great. We’re going to increase sales and profits. We’re going to hire new, fresh talent. We’re going to…”

Sometimes actual targets or objectives accompany those statements. Sometimes they’re followed by statements that start with “And here’s how we’re going to do it.”

But what’s often missing is, “Here’s why we’re going to do it,” or “Here’s why it’s imperative that we do.”

Let’s use the Plan Canvas purpose statement as an example

Simply put, we want businesses to increase their odds of success and do better. Why?

Because even a modest improvement in business performance will make a tremendously positive impact on the economy, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and take us that much closer to improving lives and eliminating poverty.

Value-based vs. profit-driven goals

Setting value-based goals is one way to improve employee engagement. Watch our 2 brief videos on the topic.

Is it a coincidence that the reported percentage of disengaged employees is almost the same as the failure rate of strategic plans?

The American Management Association (AMA) reports more than 60% of strategies are not successfully executed. A Gallup poll indicated that only 32% of employees in the United States were engaged in their work in 2015, virtually flat over the 31.5% reported in 2014.

Let’s see – there’s a 60% failure rate in strategy execution, while the employee disengagement is rate is 68%.

Coincidence?

There has to be SOME kind of purpose

Perhaps the answer to the high failure rate of strategies is to simply give employees a greater sense of purpose.

The purpose for any business doesn’t have to be big and lofty nor world changing. It can be almost anything. But it has to be SOMETHING because that sense of purpose is what you need in order to get your employees excited and engaged.

If the only sense of purpose they feel is “to put money in the pockets of someone other than myself”, they aren’t going to be very engaged. If they aren’t engaged, you are on your own and the strategy will fail.

If You Know Better Do Better

January 10th, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Goal, Objective 0 thoughts on “If You Know Better Do Better”

We recently heard the story of a hard-working retail cashier, stressed from the holidays, managing to keep her cool in the face of rude customers.

One particularly disrespectful customer reflected on his actions, returned to the store, and fell just short of an apology by saying, “That wasn’t your fault. I know better.”

A genuine apology for his behavior would have been better, and perhaps would not have resulted in this response from the cashier, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s really some great advice for all of us. If we know better, lets do better.

Not another list!

We don’t need to give you yet another list of the things you can be doing better on, be they professional, personal or societal things. There’s no shortage, so pick a few that are most important to you and run with them.

An article at the New York Times entitled How to Do Things Better in 2018 lists and describes 10 things you can focus on (and why), but then goes on to provide links to unique pieces that actually get in to HOW to do better on that particular item.

The article focuses mostly on personal, but also on a few professional areas, such as “How to Build a Successful team.”

Guess what the first step is?

If you guessed, “Make a Plan,” you guessed correctly.

More to the point, the article says, “You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.”

We agree with the intent of that statement, but we are also a little nerdy when it comes to using terminology. You really need clear and measurable OBJECTIVES that support your loftier GOALS. Goals in and of themselves are more of a destination, otherwise, not really measurable beyond “Are we there yet?’

But all nerdiness aside, make a plan and make things measurable. But to that point, make it actionable.

Keep it Simple…Seriously (we object to calling anyone “stupid” so “seriously” is a good substitute)

Meanwhile, Inc. has posted an article entitled 3 Simple Habits I’m Making in 2018 to Drive Better Results. In it, the author’s 3rd simple habit is “Discipline through simplicity,” and, again, we couldn’t agree more.

Plan Canvas is built on the “KISS” model – Keep it Simple, Seriously. So often we just make things too complicated. Take a look at the things you do and ask yourself how you can simplify. Challenge yourself and your team. Make a game of it. There is always a way.

As the new year gets going….

We all know we CAN do better. And as the cashier said, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s the kind of simplicity we can live with.

What is SEM – Strategic Execution Management?

December 12th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Business is ART, Business Plan, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Vision 1 thought on “What is SEM – Strategic Execution Management?”

As we prepared to launch Plan Canvas, a bootstrapped passion project led by subject matter and technical experts, none of who had a clue about marketing and public relations, we began thinking about how to truly position ourselves in the market.

Plan Canvas’ origins are in the book Business is ART (Articulate, Revise, Track), which makes it clear that there is a distinction between strategic planning and strategic management.

See related post 2 Main Phases of Business – Planning it and Running it.

How to differentiate

So, from the start, Plan Canvas has never been about “develop a one-and-done business plan” even though the prevailing sentiment erroneously assumes that is exactly all a business plan is – one-and-done. Instead, Plan Canvas has always been about executing to and revising the plan as you move along. That is where the real benefit of planning is realized.

So rather than being a simpler business planning tool in a saturated market, we knew we had to position ourselves differently because we are genuinely different.

As an unknown startup with limited means to reach large numbers of potential customers, we were excited (and somewhat shocked) to accept an invitation to meet with representatives from technology research firm Gartner, who had come across Plan Canvas through our humble and limited content marketing efforts.

Should Gartner decide at some point to review Plan Canvas in greater detail, it would be a tremendous honor because Gartner is a major influencer.

A Eureka Moment

In the meantime, they provided us with the perfect answer to our question – how do we position ourselves in the market?

The answer is that Plan Canvas fits into an emerging market of Strategic Execution Management, or SEM, tools. At a very high level you can think of SEM as the bringing together of business/strategic planning and project portfolio management (PPM) – with a focus on communication and the achievement of measurable results.

From Gartner’s perspective, SEM tools support the process of ART-ful strategy execution in several ways, including, but not limited to:

  • Visualizing the organization’s strategies, goals, missions, objectives, plans, projects, etc – Articulate
  • Prioritizing any continuing, upcoming and in-flight investments relative to strategies – Articulate, Revise
  • Continuous planning and project investments – Articulate, Revise
  • Capturing actual metrics – Track

Plan Canvas does this and more, including the additional elements of Gartner’s definition of SEM.

We’re getting there

And so we carry on with our journey to put Plan Canvas in the hands of those who stand to benefit from its use – but now with a renewed sense of who we truly are.

Step 1: Build and validate the product – CHECK!

Step 2: Determine the market position – CHECK!

Step 3: Determine appropriate market messaging and introductions to influencers – WORKING ON IT!

2 Main Phases of Business – Planning It and Running It

December 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Business Plan, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “2 Main Phases of Business – Planning It and Running It”

There are two major phases to starting and maintaining any business or organization: planning it and running it. We refer to this as strategic planning and strategic management, and actually break things down a little further.

Strategic Planning is the formal development of plans (vision, goals, objectives, initiatives and action items). It includes:

  • Analysis & Assessment
  • Strategy Formulation & Documentation

Strategic Management is the on-going running of the business based on those plans. It includes:

  • Strategic Execution
  • Sustainment Management

“Planning” Isn’t “Set It and Forget It”

A common mistake made by entrepreneurs, owners and leaders is that planning is a one-time event, relatively unrelated to running the business. The American Management Association (AMA) reports that more than 60% of strategies are not implemented. That is particularly a disturbing stat when you consider a 2015 survey by Wells Fargo that found an even greater percentage of small businesses never develop strategies in the first place.

Meanwhile, a report by Cognizant states that organizations that don’t focus on strategic execution “are at risk of wasting 14 times more money” than those who put an emphasis on strategic execution.

An Unofficial Recognition

The Plan Canvas team recently spoke with representatives from the technology research firm Gartner, who informally stated that they see Plan Canvas as a Strategic Execution Management software (SEM).

This was music to our ears because since its inception, that is how we have viewed Plan Canvas. Yes, you can produce strategic plans, business plans, and personal plans from Plan Canvas, but, more importantly, you can strategically manage with it.

In fact, of the 8 major characteristics of an SEM solution, as defined by Gartner, Plan Canvas at least touches on all of them – some more deeply than others, but all are addressed.

This is a very important distinction for both the Plan Canvas team and the Plan Canvas user.

Contact us for a free 30-day trial of Plan Canvas.

We cover all phases

See a list of Plan Canvas features and an 8-minute demo

Learn more…

How to Host a Better Brainstorm

March 9th, 2016 Posted by Business Plan, Manager, Objective, Strategic Planning, Strategy 0 thoughts on “How to Host a Better Brainstorm”

business is artGroup brainstorming was a revolutionary idea when it was introduced to the corporate world around 1940.  Developed by Alex Osborn, these “think up” sessions were designed to creatively attack problems by gathering spontaneous responses from different coworkers.

There were four rules that Osborn established:

  • No criticism allowed
  • Go for a large quantity of ideas
  • Build on each other’s ideas
  • Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas

In the brainstorm, there was no such thing as a wrong answer or a stupid solution.  There were only raw and beautiful ideas.

Though Osborn’s concept spread like wildfire, it was not without its fair share of criticism.  Today, brainstorming often carries a negative connotation in modern business and creative environments.  They see it as nothing more than a waste of time.

But it doesn’t have to be.  Done correctly, there is a time and place for a collective brainstorm.  To do so, however, you have to avoid the common pitfalls.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Brainstorming

Modern brainstorming sessions fall into a number of unhelpful tropes.

Often, one or two influential/talkative attendees will dominate the conversation, sharing far more than anyone else, even cutting others off, and ultimately oversaturating the room with their perspective.  In the meantime, others may forget their ideas or deem them irrelevant to the direction the conversation has gone.

All of this leads to a problem called “groupthink”.

Groupthink is an actual psychological occurrence that happens when people seek to conform to a singular outcome, even if it’s irrational or mediocre.

Alternatively, you may have a person in the group who simply spends their time shooting down everyone else’s ideas without offering a suggestion of their own.

That’s why you need some rules and strategy.

How to Brainstorm Better: Add Some Structure

Adding structure and additional rules to a brainstorming session might seem counter-intuitive, but hear us out.  By establishing some ground rules, you can consciously avoid the pitfalls of brainstorming.

When the session starts, make sure everyone has something to write on so they can jot quick thoughts down if someone else is already talking.  If there’s a fear that one or two voices will dominate the conversation, maybe the solution is to limit the amount of ideas that can by shared per person.

If you’re afraid a lot of your team won’t say anything, make it a requirement for everyone to share an idea.  You’ll be surprised by what a person might come up with when they have to come up with something.

And for those teammates who spend all their energy shooting down others’ concepts, you could establish a rule that you can’t reject an idea unless you have an alternative suggestion.

Looking to take it a step further?  Here’s one method we suggest:

The Sticky Note Brainstorm

At the start of the session, give everyone a sticky-note pad and a pen.  Then, present the group with a problem or question and tell them they have 30-60 seconds to write down as many solutions as possible.

When the time’s up, move to your next question or problem, and keep going until you’ve exhausted all of the topics.

Once that’s done, collect all of the sticky notes and start to arrange them on the wall.  As you do, you’ll begin to see patterns emerge and applicable solutions arise.  From there, you can discuss and refine as a group, knowing that everyone has had a chance to contribute to the discussion in a pure, efficient manner.

Knowing When It’s Time to Walk Away

If you’re having a brainstorming session and it’s not going anywhere, don’t hesitate to pause or post-pone things till a later time and day.  People, even in groups, hit creative walls.  The best solution for that is to simply break, decompress and comeback later.

Brainstorming can still serve a purpose in the modern conference room.  You just need to utilize some business leadership skills like awareness and planning, and you can set your team up for success.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a modern twist on brainstorming. The yellow sticky note approach may still apply but there are also online software tools that you can use just as effectively. In his book Will It Fly?, Pat Flynn discusses mind mapping in more detail.

Whether it’s mind mapping, brainstorming, ideation or anything else, the idea is the same – to get as many ideas out on the table as possible so that you can better define whatever it is you are creating or better attack whatever issue or challenge you are facing.

5 Ways to Deal With Doubt

February 11th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Delegate, Entrepreneur, Goal, Leadership, Objective, Owner 0 thoughts on “5 Ways to Deal With Doubt”
dealing with doubt

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

The Serial (Entrepreneur) Killer

You don’t have to own a business to act with an entrepreneur’s spirit. You can take ownership in whatever role you play, no matter how big or how small the company or organization.

In this week’s podcast – The Serial (Entrepreneur) Killer – my guest, Pat Thackery, and I discussed some things that are sure-fire ways to kill an entrepreneur’s dreams. Some of the primary killers we discussed included:

  • Not surrounding yourself with smart people (hopefully smarter than you)
  • Freaking out over the daily numbers
  • Micromanagement (the “I gotta do it myself” syndrome)
  • Assuming that being the owner makes you better than the employees
  • Not setting a clear vision for your business
  • Not having and being flexible enough to adjust your plan

Doubt – 1 of the Biggest Killers

But there are several other things that can kill the entrepreneur’s dream. One of the biggest is doubt. Unless you’re a narcissist, you probably have at least some doubts. That’s only natural. How you handle them is what is important.

There are many schools of thought out there but here are a few things you might try to keep your doubts in check.

  1. Identify your strengths. What makes you good at the things you do and how can you play to those strengths in your entrepreneurial endeavors?
  2. Identify your blind spots. Ask people who know you well, and don’t get defensive or angry with them when they are honest with you. Thank them for their input, then start thinking about how to “cover” the blind spot. Is it something you can turn in to a strength, or is it something that will save you a whole lot of time, energy, focus and heartache if you “outsource” it to someone else?
  3. Change your perspective. Don’t get caught up in a mode of saying “I can’t do this” in a whiney, defeatist kind of way.  Start practicing the “I can’t do this, and therefore I am going to get someone to do it for me – because my talents are better spent on other tasks” kind of way.
  4. Set small, achievable objectives that lead to bigger goals. If you set huge objectives right out of the gate, you will begin to lose faith when it appears to be taking too long to reach them. Set smaller milestones and objectives along the way. Celebrate when you hit them, double down and make adjustments when you don’t…but keep moving.
  5. Practice saying “I’ve got this. I can do this.” In my recent article at sbonline.com, I discuss the topic of luck. In it I ask and answer the question “Does luck exist?” Studies show that to a great extent we create luck and that a major key to it is simply believing.

You’ve got this.

How to Take Your Business Vision from Initial Ideas to Success

January 13th, 2016 Posted by Business Plan, CEO, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Objective, Vision 0 thoughts on “How to Take Your Business Vision from Initial Ideas to Success”
Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Paying Homage to a Visionary

Earlier this week, music icon David Bowie died. The news and social media have rightfully been running all kinds of stories and tributes to him, and he was indeed influential in my life as well. Beginning in high school, I sang in bands but it wasn’t until a few years later I came in to my own as a vocalist. I distinctly remember it was in the middle of our cover of Bowie’s “Suffragette City”.

I was wearing these ridiculous all chrome glasses. Even the lenses were chrome so no one could see my eyes. We’re doing the song and I feel someone removing them from my face. That’s when I realized I’d had my eyes closed and was no longer seeing the crowd. I was just completely in to the song. I had zero thought nor care as to whether anyone was enjoying it or not. It simply didn’t matter because I was completely immersed in it…until that fan took off my glasses and momentarily brought me back to Earth.

It forever changed how I approached things. Fully immersing myself, not caring about what critics had to say.

People often mistook Bowie’s eyes for being of two different colors, but actually, they were the same color. One eye, however, was permanently dilated due to an injury from a punch to the face when he was a kid. This made it appear that his eyes were of two different colors, but it was just an optical illusion (every pun intended). Bowie actually used this distinct look to his advantage, recognizing that it gave him a certain visual mystique.

I think of it as giving him a unique view as a visionary, because whether you like his music and art or not, he was undeniably a visionary.

That’s a long lead in to this blog, but it felt right to pay some homage to one of the great artists of our time. Now let’s get down to the business of YOUR vision.

A Vision without a Plan

A company with a vision but no identifiable business plan is like a classic car without an engine. Sure, it’s beautiful to look at and sit in, and you can even imagine how fast it will go while racing down the highway, but once you turn that key to start the ignition, you’ll find that you are going nowhere pretty fast.

Without the building blocks to make it move, a car is really just a pretty hunk of metal.

This is how a lot of businesses start out: a vision is created, goals are set and the company decides on how to define success in their industry. This is a great start, but once the initial planning is over, too many businesses fail within the first few years. This is because defining success and formulating a plan to achieve that success are two very different things.

Make a Vision, Then Make a Business Plan

Your vision is what you want to achieve in your industry. Do you want to focus on innovation, customer service or quality products? Ask yourself how you want your company to be defined in the industry and what you want to do for your clients? This is your vision.

Your business plan is how you intend to achieve this vision.

Every company needs direction. Even the most talented team of experts needs direction, and you are just the person to lead that team.

Create a Strategic Plan

One of the things that the Business is ART book talks about is the one page strategic plan. This is a simple way to articulate and define the business objectives that you need to meet in order to achieve your vision.

Don’t know how to create a one page strategic plan? You’re in luck, there is a downloadable version of the template located in the “Freebies” section of this website. You can use this to plan, organize and track the progress that you are making on your business objectives.

Speaking of Tracking

How do you know if you are on the right path to achieving your vision? You track your performance results, of course.

Every business leader knows the benefits of tracking the company’s performance metrics. Without this crucial step in the process, you will never know in what areas you need to improve and where you should be staying the course.

The Next Steps

Achieving a vision is not a straight path, but a winding journey with many twists and turns. You have to be able to learn your industry and what it takes to run your business successfully. These lessons can be learned over time, and many of them are contained within the Business is ART book.

For more information, or to download the free templates, go to the Resources section of the website.

So, You’re Starting a Business. Where Do You Begin?

November 18th, 2015 Posted by Business Plan, Goal, Inspiration, Leadership, Objective, Strategic Planning 0 thoughts on “So, You’re Starting a Business. Where Do You Begin?”

Starting your own business can be a scary endeavor. Even if you have a great product or service that is ready to hit the market, there is still a large amount of uncertainty that lies ahead.

Between statistics that show 50 percent of businesses fail in the first five years to people asking for your elevator pitch and more, a seemingly large amount of pressure can be placed on your shoulders.

This is especially true if you don’t even know where to begin.

That’s why formulating a solid business plan is one of the most important things you, a budding business owner, can do before pressing forward into your particular industry. There’s just one secret that a lot of people don’t know:

It’s not really that hard.

business planIt just requires a bit of careful planning, a decent amount of hard work and a whole lot of determination.

The Starting Line

A lot of what goes into starting a business relies upon your vision, your definition of success and the specific actions that you know you have to take to make your vision a reality.

In the Business is ART book, a 12-step process is laid out that covers the creation and implementation of your business vision. These steps enable you to make a self-assessment of your business and your goals.

Let’s say you’ve got an idea for a product to sell or service to provide, which is fantastic, but how do you separate yourself from every other business within the same industry? What makes your business different from the competition? This is a vital step to take before you begin establishing your business plan.

You also have to take into account what your business goals are. Yes, you want to make money and grow your business, but that is too broad of a definition of success. Your vision entails the specific goals that you have laid out for yourself and how you will achieve them.

The Beginning Steps

Now it’s time to get to the specifics. The acronym ART stands for:

  • Articulate
  • Refine
  • Track

Since you have already looked deep within yourself and articulated a vision, it’s time to lay out the steps that you will take to get there. Remember, you need to be as specific as possible when creating a plan.

Try to organize your business into sections such as production, employment, service, marketing, and evaluation. This will be particularly helpful if you are looking for lenders or investors, as they will want to see this plan laid out before they put money into your company.

Finally, remember that it is important to evolve as you go. This is where refinement and tracking come into the picture. As a business owner, you have to be able to track your successes and failures. That way you can understand what is working for you and refine what is not.

Learn as Much as You Can

The longer you run a business, the more lessons you will learn. Many of these lessons can be found in Business is ART. The book contains everything you need to know about getting your business off the ground and keeping it successful in the years to come. A Business Plan template is includes as a free download on our “Freebies” page.

Which Metrics are Worth Tracking?

October 28th, 2015 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Goal, Key Performance Indicator, KPI, Objective, Strategic Planning 0 thoughts on “Which Metrics are Worth Tracking?”

The best way for successful businesses to stay at the top of their industries is to define and track their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Growing businesses can also use KPIs to understand how they can improve their operations and procedures, thus allowing them to grow even more.

In short, understanding how KPIs affect your company really is a key to business success. Even if you have an amazing product or service, a stellar business plan and a whole lot of talented individuals who can help you reach the top, it will all be for naught if you don’t define what success means to you, track your progress and learn how to improve from certain key metrics.

But which metrics are worth tracking?

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

The answer is hard to pin down to an exact science, and it relies heavily upon your understanding of your business and its goals. There is no one-size-fits-all list of metrics to track, but the following guide can help you narrow the list down to a manageable number of key metrics to follow.

Know Your KPIs

There certainly are a whole lot of metrics out there, and capturing them is the easy part. The hard part is knowing which metrics can help your business improve and which of them are just a bunch of meaningless data. The trick is to understand which metrics are important to you, and which should be ignored altogether.

Start with the end in mind. What is your vision? What are your business goals and objectives? Do you want more traffic going to your website? Do you want to generate more leads? Maybe your goal is to decrease the time it takes to accomplish certain tasks or to increase customer engagement.

Whatever you determine your goals to be, the metrics you track should directly relate to them. If you want more traffic coming to your website, track metrics that relate to your web analytics. If you are looking to generate leads, track the conversion rate metrics of your lead generation techniques, and if you want to save time, track the time it takes to complete tasks and see where you can optimize your processes.

Just Don’t Waste Your Own Time

We live in a world of data. Virtually everything in the world can be recorded and turned into some sort of a statistic, but that doesn’t mean you have to track and analyze every single piece of information available to you.

It might be tempting to overload your workers with any and all data that you collect, but a lot of it just won’t apply to your business goals. The metrics that you want to follow are those that will allow you to identify changes that need to made in your business. For small businesses, that’s probably just a handful.

Before bothering to record and analyze any metric, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • Will knowing this information help my company make more money?
  • Will analyzing this data help me to identify redundant processes and increase efficiency?
  • Will understanding this metric help me make better decisions?
  • Does this support my business plan, strategy and vision?

Make Smart Decisions

Whenever you make the decision to track a metric, it should be done because you have a specific goal in mind and never for the mere reason of you having the ability to track it. Key metrics exist to make your business better, not to create more work for you and your employees.

In Business is ART, I provide you with over 50 predefined KPIs to choose from, with a string word of caution NOT to choose many of them. You may want to define a few of your own, but keep it simple.

To learn more about how you can make your metrics work for you, and not the other way around, get Business is ART or contact us today.

 

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