If you’re not observing your business’ metrics, you might as well close down today. At the heart of every business is raw, unprocessed data – and if you aren’t paying attention to it, you aren’t concerned enough about how your business operates or where the future will lead. Some might say that analytics are the future of business, but they’re dead wrong—analytics matter today, and failure to embrace that fact puts you at a huge disadvantage. If you want to successfully run anything from a food cart to a Fortune 500 Company, you’ve got to know what your numbers mean.
Your immediate reaction might be that you think of your numbers as important enough already. You have slogged through enough quarterly reports and end-of-year statements to have a good idea of how your business is doing on a macro scale. The best way to determine where your business is heading, though, is with real-time data. Keeping your business moving in the right direction isn’t something that can be done once a quarter or once a year—it’s something that has to be done constantly, with decisions made every moment that will determine the viability of your business model. The current world of business moves quickly, and you have to make quick decisions in order to stay afloat.
The key to long lasting success is real-time data analysis. Knowing how your business is performing moment to moment gives you the ability to make changes on the micro level before they become macro problems. This means making smaller, easier-to-implement changes in order to avoid massive, expensive restructuring. Anything from a cash-flow issue to labor problems can be managed if you have access to the data that you need on command. The world of business intelligence is now one that you can have at your fingertips.
It’s never too late for you to start trusting business intelligence and analysis. Even if your attention to the numbers has been poor thus far, start small and see if you can convert some of your data into a report format first. If possible, make the data driven with daily changes, and as you get better, you can make the parameter change to measuring by the minute or incident. Remember. It is better to start today than to wait for a future perfect opportunity.
What are the basic BI dashboard components that most people measure? From our experience at Grow.com, it is always profit based—revenue minus expenses in some form or another. Quality of service or product is also another popular category. But the most important thing is to differentiate between “leading” and “lagging” indicators in your real-time reports. “Lagging” statistics show what happened after the event or time. “Leading” indicators and measurements are activities that drive the results that show up in the “lag” report. For example, if you have a team of phone sales people, measuring the “indicators” of phone time, number of phone calls, number of demos set, opportunities created and others all impact sales. These “leading” activities are the most important real-time measurements to be tracking.
Start today and track real-time the leading indicators that facilitates a higher likelihood of success in your business leadership.