Sadly, you don’t have to look far to see the nasty consequences of being too busy to measure your business results: vague and fluffy goals, projects not being completed, never finding time for holidays or mini-breaks and money spent on things that don’t make a difference.
Well-designed measures make priorities clear, give specific and definite direction to activity and provide feedback so you can avoid wasting time and money.
Measuring your business results is even more important when things are busy and chaotic.
Naturally, though, you don’t want to spend hours and hours assessing. The trick is to make just enough space for some meaningful measuring that will help you take the control back.
The first strategy for finding time to measure your business results is to reduce the rest of your workload. What is the one thing you are doing now that is less important than getting more control over your workload and your business performance?
- Is it a project that you’ve lost passion for, that just isn’t getting the results you need or that you feel compelled to finish just because you started it?
- Are you still doing administrative work that you can easily delegate to an assistant, like typing and formatting documents, internet research, managing emails and organising meetings?
- How many hours a day do you give to distractions like answering the phone every time it rings, checking your email every 15 minutes, starting new tasks that you didn’t even plan to do?
- Are you driven by your priorities, or the priorities of other people? Which tasks are you doing that really are not the best use of your time and not adding value to your business?
Once you identify just one thing less important than tracking your business reults, muster up your self-discipline and stop doing it.
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Then, allocate the freed up time to measuring one important business result that really does matter. Perhaps it’s attracting new leads, or reducing expenses or increasing your billable time.
The second strategy for finding time to measure business results is to reduce the measurement workload itself: How can you save time in setting up your measure right now and start making it a natural part of your work?
- What is the best time of week for you to focus on measuring your business results? Is it Monday morning, Friday afternoon or some other quieter time of the week?
- Allocate just 30 minutes or one hour each week to fully give your attention to setting up and using your most important measure. Do your best to keep to that time.
- What data can you already access or very easily collect to track your most important measure?
- Are you collecting data from everyone or everything, where instead random samples could work well enough?
- Do you really need to put all that effort into an electronic reporting dashboard when some Excel charts will do the job for now?
Build your momentum for measuring your business results and worry about perfection further down the track. Starting small and deliberately will lay a solid foundation to build more and better measures upon, as you get faster and more skilful at tracking the drivers of success for your business.
What business result will you commit to start measuring now?