Seven Weeks To A Better Business, Part Four

By Beacon Staff

This seven part series is about making real, substantive steps to improving your business in seven weeks. Really. It doesn’t matter whether you are a butcher, baker or candlestick maker (or perhaps an attorney, insurance salesperson, or Realtor), these things will get you going in the right direction but they will not do a darned thing if you just read the Beacon, pitch it aside and don’t actually make changes.

So let’s get started with week four.

Week #4 – Measure, measure, measure.

A friend of mine is CFO for global wholesaler. One of her favorite sayings is “That which is measured will be managed.” Boy is that a mouthful. We’ve all heard this from different people at different times, but do you actually implement it?

Here are a few questions to get the thought process started…

Do you know how much you’re paying to get a new lead?

Do you know how much it costs your business to turn those leads into a client? For each media? For each product line?

Do you know which of your ads bring in the majority of your leads?

Do you know which of those ads result in the largest sales volume? (may not be the same as the previous answer)

Do you know which media brings you the majority of your leads?

Can you tell me how many dollars you get back for each dollar you spend on each of your marketing campaigns, ads, by media?

If you can’t answer these questions, you’re shooting arrows in the dark. Kinda hard to hit the target under those circumstances…

If you can’t answer these questions, how do you know which ads are helping you? Every ad can be tweaked to make it measurable. Until you’ve done that, it’ll be hard to know for sure which ads are doing what.

What about product lines? Services? Clients? How do you know which clients are profitable and which ones aren’t?

If you don’t know these things… find out what they are. Find out what affects them and you’ll know more about what really affects your business. Lay it out on paper or on a whiteboard for your staff so they understand the numbers and see them daily.

Then, start using their help to improve your business. Continuously. Every day. Once you know these things, you’ll find that they drive your business, in fact, they’ll drive you.

During the process of examining these things, you may encounter a number that tells the story of your entire business. Typically, this is a daily number.

For many businesses, it’s the number of new leads, but the number can easily be something far more subtle. For example, some restaurants look at the number of new birthday club memberships that they collect each day as their most important number.

Why could a number like that become important? Primarily because restaurants that run birthday clubs typically give a free dessert or entrée to the birthday person.
Now think for a moment…how many times do you go out for your birthday by yourself? Probably very little, if at all. So what happens? You go out with family and/or friends. You get a free whatever, they buy dinner. Lots of dinner.

So why is the number of new birthday club members important? Because it’s a number that forecasts future business. That birthday list is an asset that generates visits from your customers year-in, year-out. Of course, you should be sending out reminder birthday cards to welcome the customer to your restaurant on or near their birthday, but that’s the easy part and can be automated.

What to do next:Figure out what your number is, then focus on everything that impacts it.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him at mriffey@flatheadbeacon.com.

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