Home – New Forums Tech talk What measures do you look at to track your business?

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  • #975710
    websitedesigner
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    Hi guys I’m interested in what other people look at to determine if their business is on track.

    At the moment each quarter I go through all of the following things and track in Excel where I am at. I’ve been doing it for 5 years.

    I’ve posted this in the tech forum because I’m interested in things you look at a system for rather than anecdotal things like number of customers who walked in the door type thing.

    What do you look at?

    1. Revenue – I check Xero for this
    2. Number of recurring clients – Xero
    3. Blog subscribers – Feedburner
    4. Twitter followers – Twitter.com
    5. Newsletter subscribers – We have our own newsletter system
    6. Average monthly site visits – Google Analytics
    7. No of testimonials – Guestbook plugin on my website
    8. Facebook likes – Facebook.com
    9. Klout score – Klout.com
    #1076009
    bridiej
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    I keep a check on:

    1. My income – I use an Excel spreadsheet to log all work and keep a running total, both monthly and annual income, so I can see if I’m on target.

    2. Website visitors – also using Analytics.

    3. Number of people who have read my newsletter – number of subscribers is all well and good but if no-one’s reading it then it’s a bit pointless.

    Personally, I think number of twitter followers is irrelevant, and don’t get me started on Klout! 😮

    #1076010
    Steve_Minshall
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    Daily:
    Sales so far for month in $, % of budget for month, % of same month/last year.

    Monthly
    Sales: in $ and % of budget, also compared to same month for last 8 years (but mainly last year).
    Sales in $ per product class compared to previous year.
    Sales in $ per advertising method.
    All expense categories (15): in $ compared to budget and as % of revenue compared to budget.
    Net profit compared to budget (the most important one:))
    Stock value in $

    Approx fortnightly
    Google analytics to check web site traffic in general and compared to previous year. Check out adwords costs.

    #1076011
    HamishBorthen
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    For the recruitment business there are heaps of indicators I use such as number of jobs actively working on, applications per job, how long it takes to fill one etc.
    Much of these are a product of the general economy. For instance we are struggling to find applicants for most jobs.. not a reflection on Duff Recruitment but the general two speed economy in WA. Our clients are mostly not mining; so we are in the “low speed” which can’t pay the same wages etc. Add that to the 4% or so unemployment and it’s a great time to find a new job but a sh!t time for a new employee.

    Apart from that I check daily where we are in terms of our KPI’s in regards to filling said jobs.
    How long our clients take to pay.

    And I’m completely addicted to keeping my cash flow forecast up to date. So many of our small business clients are struggling with cash flow.. when your debtors are taking 45 days to pay 14 day invoices it has a huge effect on your business!

    I also keep an eye on the website stats however I find these directly correlate to number of job applications.. so it’s more a “out of curiosity” stat than something I rely on.

    #1076012
    Rhys
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    websitedesigner, post: 95925 wrote:
    Hi guys I’m interested in what other people look at to determine if their business is on track.

    Hey Dan,

    Great question. A couple of key points in determining what to measure are deciding what are the “drivers” in your business and what you can do with the information you glean from the measuring.

    For example you mention measuring site visitors. You are probably also measuring leads generated from your website (for example as a percentage of visitors), and what these leads are worth to you in terms of revenue and/or gross margin. This is important because (big assumption coming up) your business objective is not maximising site visitors, rather you know if you do generate sufficient traffic (and then also hit a certain conversion rate) that will translate into revenue.

    Once you have measured (and decided if the result is good, bad or somewhere inbetween) what can you do with the information? I see too many clients who (if they measure at all) don’t adequately respond to the information.

    I wrote an article on this topic some months age, which Flying Solo were kind enough to publish on this site, which goes into a lot more detail than I can fit into this comment.

    For my business I use a combination of financial reports (from Xero of course), like you a number of website and various social media statistics, as well as measures of customer and employee satisfaction (in most service businesses the two are closely related).

    Thanks for starting this topic!

    Cheers, Rhys

    #1076013
    Citypainter
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    Being a building trade business, but not using Builders to get work probably seems odd. But for me I have enough work to say NO to a builder then all is pretty good.
    I look at Money first, (1) Income versus outgoings. Then (2) conversions from quotes to contracts. and finally I need to know (3) how much work we have locked in as security to offer the employees.

    #1076014
    websitedesigner
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    Hi Rhys

    Thanks for the detailed response here, I’ll check out the article.

    On the topic of website visits, it’s an interesting one. With your approach you are assuming the goal of the website is only to generate leads. If you check out my site, you should be able to tell that this is NOT the goal (well not the only goal anyway).

    The main purpose of the site is to help me get a following and establish myself as an authority. This over time will (if my strategy works) get me in front of more potential customers but importantly keep me listed on the front page of Google for very competitive terms and therefore lead to more leads in the long term.

    I know this approach is very different to what people would typically do with their main website but I really think this is the only way for me to stay on top of Google long term.

    What this means is a lot of people that visit my site are not potential customers, I get lots of visits from other bloggers, other web companies, people just generally interested in the web etc. My conversion rate is obviously woeful as a result – the site is attracting a lot of people who are never going to become customers.

    So on it’s own website visitors is a measure of the effectiveness of my site IMO because it means my strategy is working (whether the strategy is a dud is another matter).

    Rhys, post: 96040 wrote:
    Hey Dan,

    Great question. A couple of key points in determining what to measure are deciding what are the “drivers” in your business and what you can do with the information you glean from the measuring.

    #1076015
    websitedesigner
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    Hi Hamish I know what you mean with web stats. One thing I find is stats that include the business owner is a problem. With our WordPress sites we use a plugin called WP Ninja GA which excludes the Analytics tracking code if you are logged into the back-end so it doesn’t track business owners. It also doesn’t track the back-end of course (a lot of server based stats will track both which is really not that useful). If you are really keen you could set up the application system to run on a sub domain with a different Analytics tracking code so it separates them out. Anyway I digress.

    Do recruitment companies have systems that they use for this sort of thing? Are they web-based?

    HamishBorthen, post: 95993 wrote:
    For the recruitment business there are heaps of indicators I use such as number of jobs actively working on, applications per job, how long it takes to fill one etc.
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