Numbers, metrics, data. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea.

They are essential to everyone’s business though.

Do I really have to track my numbers?” I hear you ask. “It sounds quite dull. Can’t I just wing it? I’ve got a vague idea how everything is going”.

Being mindful of your metrics means you have your goals front and centre.

It’s so easy to get distracted while running your business, but there is no hiding if you’re looking at your sales figures at the end of each month or when you’re faced with the exact number of people who have signed up to your email list this month.

Metrics give you valuable information on the progress you’re making, which then gives you focus.

Numbers really are the gift that keeps on giving!

Your metrics don’t need to be all about the numbers, I’ve included other elements of your business that you could track further on in this article.


3 key growth metrics to track

1. Sales

Sales are key to your business. Without income (and profit) your business won’t last long, and you won’t be able to continue to serve all of the people you want to support.

Do you have a clear income goal for the month? For the year? Set one now if you don’t.

Pro tip: Tracking your sales is a great way to see where your money blocks are. Denise Duffield-Thomas recommends tracking your income daily as you’ll quickly see what your thoughts and feelings around money are.


2. Audience growth

Consistent audience growth is an important metric as this feeds into your sales.

There will be a natural ebb and flow to the number of people who are following you, by focusing on positive growth you’ll always have new people coming into your business who are keen to hear more about what you do.

Examples of metrics to track are the number of subscribers on your list, the number of people who have signed up to a particular freebie, or the number of people who are following you on social media. That last metric can be a tricky one as more doesn’t always mean better and far too much time can be spent getting more followers, at the expense of providing valuable content.

Pro tip: While growing your audience, don’t forget the audience you already have! People buy in different ways and at different speeds. Some people may never buy from you, but they might be champions for your business. Remember to nurture your current audience with valuable content (one of the ways I nurture the relationship with my audience by providing weekly systems tips).


3. Leading metric

There are leading metrics and lagging metrics.

What are earth does that mean?!

Sales is a lagging metric as the results happens after the actions. Sales (result) lag behind your marketing (action). By the time you have your sales figures for the month there is nothing you can do to change that number, you can only use that number to review the effectiveness of your marketing and improve what you do next.

Leading metrics can be used to predict the future.

Sales calls are an example of a leading metric. If you know that 50% of your sales calls convert into clients, then you can reasonably predict your income by the number of sales calls you have booked in for the next month. The sales calls lead to income.

You don’t need to wait until the end of the month to increase the number of sales calls. You can act right now to improve that metric.

Another example of a leading metric could be the number of people who sign up to your membership waitlist.

You know from your past results that for every 100 people who are on your waitlist, 10 will become members when the doors open. Your focus will be on increasing the number of people on your waitlist.


Keep it simple.

Keep it simple when deciding which metrics to track. You want them to directly relate to your goals and to be useful.

When I first started tracking my numbers I had far more than were useful. They didn’t all have a clear correlation to my goals, I didn’t know what to do with some of the numbers, and it took me 30 to 40 minutes to collect them, let alone review them.

It felt like such a chore to track my numbers!

Now, I track far fewer numbers and it takes me 15 minutes to collect them and add them into my metrics spreadsheet. The collection of those numbers can be a great task to delegate to a VA.


Other metrics that might matter to you

Hours worked in your business:

The amount of time you spend in your business can be important for different reasons. You might be recovering from an illness and want to increase your hours to what they used to be, you might be coming up to the school holidays and want to decrease your hours, or you may’ve been working all hours under the sun on a project and now want to create a more sustainable work week.

Membership “churn”:

How many members are coming and going each month? When you have a membership, you want your members to stay as long as possible. By focusing on the churn you’ll be able to see if the value you’re providing is enough to keep members or if the marketing you’re doing is attracting the kind of members who want to be part of your community.

Course completion:

How many of your participants finish your course? It could be that this number is important to you, or you could be looking for where people become stuck in your course materials so you can improve them.


Where to store your numbers

You could store your metrics in a spreadsheet, in a project management tool like Asana, in a document, or in a workbook. Choose what suits your working style.

I like to store my numbers in a spreadsheet as I can easily see the trends over the months. I can also have simple formulas set up to work out the average over the months, e.g. open rate on my emails.

Colour coding is a favourite tool of mine as I highlight the months where I’ve reached my goals with a bright colour. The colours are a visual cue so I can see exactly where I’m meeting my goals and where my improvement areas are.


The non-numeric metrics

Numbers are important in business, there is no doubting that. Yet, there are other factors to consider when knowing if your business is a success or not.

Do you enjoy showing up in your business? You may not feel like that every day but are you heading in the right direction?

Are the clients you’re attracting your ideal clients? There isn’t much point in earning stacks of cash if you have to talk yourself into turning up for your clients calls, then grind your teeth the whole way through.


Beware the mindset monkeys when tracking your numbers.

One my strategies for 2022 was to write a blog post every two weeks – a total of 26 for the year.

I started off well. In fact, I started off so well that I was writing a blog post a week.

But the wheels fell off in May and I only wrote one blog post.

I was back on the wagon with three posts in June, but the road got bumpy again in July with only one post.

August was fantastic with four blog posts published.

Then I stopped. I wrote some drafts but didn’t publish anything for the last four months of the year.

I know why I had the stop and start method. I’d started writing blog posts for a long-term client, so my creative well was running dry, and I was doing a part-time technical writing contract, so I had less time and energy.

Guess what I hadn’t been doing? Tracking the overall number of blog posts I’d written!

When I refreshed my content tracking system I was surprised to see that I had published 23 blogs posts! I was only 3 short of my goal number!

The mindset monkeys had convinced me that I had failed this goal. I’d been hard on myself throughout the year about my lack of consistency, yet if I’d been regularly tracking my blog posts I would’ve seen that I was on track, just not in the way I’d expected.


You don’t need to track numbers for the sake of it. You do need to have key growth metrics to track.

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