Would you attempt to operate a business with no sales reports, profit and loss statement, or balance sheet?
Would you put your money in a bank without being able to see an accurate report of what you had in your accounts?
Of course not.
And yet, most people try to run their lives with little or no tacking of where they are, where they’re going or what kind of progress they’re making. You can’t win if you don’t play, but you also can’t win if you don’t know what the score is.
To live your best life, you have to keep score. You have to know your numbers..
But I know people who have thousands of stats about baseball and football in their head but don’t have hardly ANY stats on their life, their goals and their finances.
You can’t change what you don’t measure. And what gets measured gets done. If you don’t measure you are just a wandering generality.
You have to know where you are, where you’re going, why you are doing it and how you plan to get there in order to have the clarity that leads to power.
It’s the only way to focus. If you’re serious about living your best life and achieving your goals, you MUST commit to keeping meaningful metrics.
If you have a business without sufficient metrics, you have a hobby instead of a business. And if you aren’t serious about tracking, you simply aren’t serious about success.
I created an acronym a few years back as a reminder of how important this is:
This is the M in SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Good tracking of performance indicators is not hard and can actually be fun. You can even make a game of it. And the pay-offs are substantial.
So what should you track? Anything that impacts your performance or results in achieving your objectives. It will vary depending upon the complexity, importance and length of time required to reach your goals.
Here are some examples:
- Credit score
- Time invested
- New customers
- Income & Expenses
- Wins & Losses
- exercise activity
- food intake
- blood pressure
In every important goal you have—and especially your top three—you must ask yourself how you will track your progress and how you will know how you are doing.
I believe that feedback is the breakfast of champions—and good metrics provide good feedback. Remember that visible is memorable. Make your metrics easy to see, not hidden away in some obscure file or desk drawer. Use graphs and charts and make your data come alive.
Most financial information for businesses and even personal finances are too historical to do you much good. You need timely updates, quick feedback and up-to-date reporting. The more timely your tracking, the more success you can expect.
So what keeps you from using meaningful metrics to track, guide and win? There are many, I’m sure. But here’s what I’ve encountered the most:
- You’ve never been sold on how powerful and important they are
- Keeping stats sound boring and dull
- Tracking looks like hard work
- Don’t know which indicators are important to track
- Being overwhelmed by too many stats
- Not wanting to face the real numbers
- Thinking it will take too much time
Make it easy to do. If it’s hard or time-consuming you won’t do it. So look for ways to make it simple and easy. Use tools and apps. Spreadsheets are a great way to record, track and graph information. It’s worth learning how to create and use spreadsheets well. And there are many templates already available for free.
Use white boards, poster boards and screen savers to keep your information visible.
Create your own “Snapshot” and/or Dashboard.
For accounting, QuickBooks (for business) and Quicken (for personal use) are inexpensive and easy to use.
Make a game out of it. Make it fun and you’ll find it fun to do.
Here’s an example of some of our top performance indicators that we track here at SuccessNet:
- Promotions and their results
- Visitors: new, unique, # of accesses
- Open rates of emails sent
- New contacts
- New subscribers, new members
- Current mailing list size
- Cost per customer
- Average sale per customer
- Cost per sale, conversion rate
- Comparison of averages, maximums, minimums, last year, last month
And here are a few that a small retail store would track:
- Daily sales, weather, other influences
- Sales calls, closes, prospects, inquiries
- Net worth
- Profit and Loss
I also recommend the use of SWOT Analysis—for life and your business. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s not so much tracking as it is a benchmark for where you are. See the resource below for a full explanation.
- White paper on SWOT
- Best Life Navigator
- 7 Tools
- Net Worth Dashboard (Excel Template)
- LoseIt – Weight and fitness tracking App
1. Pick at least three performance indicators to track and start tracking
a. At least a couple for each Top Goal
2. Do a SWOT analysis on your business, then add to it over the next week
3. Create a Month-End Snapshot
And hang in there. It will get easier, more habitual and more fun the more you do it. I like what Robin Sharma says about change: “Change is difficult in the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”
Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous one here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.
BTW, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com
Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.
1. Insufficient Desire
2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
5. Inadequate Support
Please share this series with your friends. We thank you—and so will your friends.