Measuring Business Success

So how is your business doing? This can be a difficult questions for some business owners and managers. The reason is that they haven’t set clear targets and goals. Sometimes there can be a tense atmosphere in a business, as everyone waits for the next problem or challenge.

Take a step back as you may actually be doing much better than you’re giving yourself credit for. Here are 7 tips for better gauging business success.

1. Build, Measure, Learn

The mantra has to be build - measure - learn. Take your product or service, measure how successful it is and make the necessary changes based upon your learnings and then build it again. So it’s as simple as build - measure - learn - repeat….

2. Agree Targets

Every business desperately needs to have realistic but stretching targets and goals. Otherwise how do you know how well (or not) you are doing? KPI’s (key performance indicators) will measure both the end result such as turnover, profit etc. along with all the contributing elements required to achieve the end result.

The KPI’s for your business could include average customer spend, conversion rate of enquiries, website visitors etc. the list is endless. Make a simple spreadsheet to track and analyse the trends.

Finally, the whole team need to buy into the overall goals and take appropriate responsibility for the targets and measurements that they can affect.

3. Keep To The Strategy

Hopefully you’ve got a well thought out strategy for growth. Inevitably something or someone will come along and disturb this. Maybe staff changes, a new competitor, feedback from customers. Any deviance from the agreed strategy is ill advised, unless it has been carefully evaluated.

New ideas for growth, acquisitions, expenditure needs to fit with the main strategy. If it doesn’t there could be a risk of loss of focus.

4. Getting Better/Worse?

I worked in radio for 20 years or so, responsible for programming and marketing of commercial stations in very competitive market places. A couple of times a year a big research company would come in and test the market. Members of the public were invited to take part, although didn’t know which radio station was paying for the research.

The research consisted mainly of music testing, playing short clips of songs to see which of them they liked, disliked or were fed up with.

This was useful to a point, however there was one follow up question that always brought me out in a cold sweat. The people being researched were given the list of radio stations in the market and asked for each one whether it was getting better, worse or was about the same.

This was dynamite, if my station was ‘getting better’ we would expect a good set of results in the main audience survey. Conversely if we were ‘getting worse’ I knew to expect the worse.

So here’s the takeout from that. If your customers were asked if what your business does was getting better, worse or about the same, how would they answer?

Be honest, in my heart of hearts I usually knew the results before they came in. Would you for your business?

5. Be resilient

When you start to measure what you do, it might at some stage present you with a bit of a reality check. Things may not be going as well as you thought. That’s fine, as you can review what you do, get some help and re-evaluate. However, in good times it is sensible to keep back some reserves for such an eventuality.

For larger businesses this may mean being cautious about staff numbers. By growing too fast in boom times, difficulties can come calling if and when the business plateaus for whatever reason.

6. Never Stop Learning

Back to the learn element of build - measure - learn. There is always so much more to learn. Personal skills, product knowledge, market knowledge, business skills etc. Just never stop learning, either from what you see and hear each day in your business, or through external sources.

7. Celebrate Success

Let’s end on a high. The great thing about goals is that if you hit them (and they were set correctly) then you will deserve a treat. Take the time to celebrate the success and make sure that you invite all those who have contributed to the cause to share the glory (staff, suppliers, spouses!)

I hope you found this useful, if I can help you in anyway with your business please let me know. Here are more articles on a similar theme.


Based in Loch Lomond Paul Saunders Marketing works throughout Scotland providing marketing consultancy and digital creative media for businesses, charities and organisations of all sizes. Core services include Marketing Consultancy, Commercial Photography, Video Production, Websites, Aerial Filming, Social Media, Design & Branding and Events. To find out more call Paul on 01360 661029 or get in touch via the Hire Us page.

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