‘The wonderful thing about not having a measure is that failure comes as a complete surprise!’
-Sir John Harvey-Jones
If you want better results in your business, you have to measure progress and keep improving!
- What gets measured gets done
- And if we can measure something, we can improve it
One of the first things I do in seminars is to ask people this question:
‘What do you normally measure in your business?’
The answer to this, of course, is ’money!’
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s very important to measure money … without it we can’t survive.
But it’s not a complete or effective way to measure business success.
On its own, it’s an unbalanced measure: and:
unbalanced measures produce unbalanced behaviours.
Money is simply a measure of ’success today’.
(And by ‘money’ I mean all the normal measures of success used by your bean counters:
- How many customers
- How many sales
- Profit per sale (margin)
- Cost of winning a customer
- Net profits
But if we want to influence the actions that produce those figures: and of course, that’s exactly what we do want to do.
Then we need effective measures of those actions, that tell us how we’re doing and what we need to do in order to improve them.
The ‘money’ measures are all about ‘success today’.
We need a balancing measure of ’success tomorrow’, to ensure we don’t behave in unbalanced ways, kill the goose that lays the golden eggs and sacrifice ‘success tomorrow’ in order to achieve ‘success today’.
As so often happens in business.
We need to balance our ‘success today’ measures with a measure of ’success tomorrow’ which is, of course, first and foremost a measure of the ’customer experience’.
Which then becomes the ‘primary’ measure: i.e. if we achieve this first, then the 2nd will follow … not the other way round.
(And remember who we mean by ‘customer’ …)
(Note: we may also have many other useful measures that relate to the ’customer experience’: for example, repeat customers, average transaction time, checkout success, gratuities, or average order size, but we need a specific measure of the ’customer experience’ as its own entity, to know how we’re doing, motivate people, gain helpful intelligence … and not only stop us from shooting ourselves in the foot in the blind quest for success today, but also provide the valuable information we need to identify the extra inches needed for constant progress to our goal of customer loyalty and reputation driving continued sales growth).
What we need is a measure that allows us to listen to the customers, find out their real needs, get data to help us continually Go the Extra Inch and measure progress along the way, so we can prioritise these so that the other measures will follow.
We want to:
- Listen to our internal customers because the biggest cause of inefficiency in a business is poorly motivated people. (And recent surveys suggest that more that 70%, and perhaps as many as 85% of people are poorly motivated in their work!).
- Listen to our external customers because the biggest cost to every business is customer defection and indifferent reputation: and main reason for this ’perceived indifference’.
- Find out their REAL needs so we can address this.
- Get data to help us identify the extra inches:
- What will build more trust?
- What will make their life easier or better?
- What can we do that will make them feel genuinely cared about? (And listening and gathering feedback properly is in itself a large answer to this question!)
- Catch people and systems doing well, so we can replicate them, find other opportunities and do more.
- Find out what needs changing or improving, inch by inch.
- Measure progress by the inch – because what gets measured gets done: our people need to know the score and find out what they need to do to move the score in the right direction.
And this is the truth no matter how big or small your business is.
In fact, the smaller your business, the easier it is to do this and to do it well: this is one of the key areas where you can outsmart your bigger and better funded rivals … for little or no cost!
Go the extra inch.
Here’s a couple of things that you can do over the next week to start working on this and go an extra inch.
- List your current measures
- Identify which ones are about ‘success today’ and which are about ‘success tomorrow’?
‘What gets measured gets done.’
Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders of independent businesses.
It is a methodology to help you slow down, set up systems for long term success, and use these to grow sales and profits through reputation, attraction, recommendation and referral.
Without wasting time, money and stress on unnecessary marketing and promotions.
To find out more, please click here