Grow a Business

The Numbers Don’t Lie – Measure What Matters

For more years than I care to admit to, I ran from numbers.
In the back of my mind, numbers reminded me of my high school Math teacher who was always intimidating. I wasn’t very good at Math and I told myself so over and over. It wasn’t until I was forced to take a basic Math class in university that I got over this fear.
Well, I mastered it enough to pass the class. But in the back of my mind, I wanted to avoid dealing with figures as much as possible.
By now you know, it is impossible to be successful as a business owner and not be acquainted with your numbers.
Whether you run a store front enterprise or it is totally digital, you must know the financial state of your business.
Not all numbers come in dollars and sense amounts but they do equate to financial success or failure in the long run.

What Numbers Should You Track?

Some of the numbers you should keep track of are sales, net profit, accounts receivables, cash flow, size of your email list, size of your reach through social, and website traffic.

If you are only now beginning to do look at your numbers, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with all these different figures and interpreting what they mean. Select one item to assess and track it for 90 days before adding another number.

Imagine you’ve got $50,000 in receivables. Awesome! Better for people to owe you than you owe them right? But when are you going to collect it? You’ve got rent, more supplies to purchase and salaries to pay. Cash flow is understanding where your money is at on any given day and time and when it is available for you to use it.

Maybe you have an email list with thousands of subscribers. Are they opening your emails? How often do people unsubscribe and subscribe to your list? Knowing what is happening with your list can help you identify problems before they become too severe.

Your video went viral and you’ve gotten great traction and shares. But are the videos converting into sales? The vanity metrics on a video posts can get you excited. However, if it does not turn into a sale or move the needle of your brand towards your intended goal it has been for naught. Assess your number of fans, followers on all of your platform. Review the insights tab on social to review what is working and what is not. You have the numbers, but how many engage (comment and share) your content.

Use Google Analytics to track you website traffic. You can collect useful info on your top pages, where in the world people are connecting from, and a profile of your audience.

When I began to look at my numbers, I had a rude awakening. The effort I was placing in some areas was reaping no results, while the ones I took for granted or overlooked completely was where the money resided. It helped me to recondition my thinking about where to focus my energy and what I needed to change to improve the areas that were weak.

The more familiar you are with the numbers in your business, the easier it will be for you to make decisions on where you need to invest your time and make adjustments. If you feel overwhelm and can’t cope, consider using available apps to support you or hire a book keeper or an advisor to help you get thins in order.

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Nerissa Golden is media and business strategist and the author of seven books, including In Plain Sight and The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Follow her on Instagram or LinkedIn for more tips and ideas to help you grow as a Caribbean entrepreneur.

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