Businesses are always looking for an edge to hone their operations against. Whether it’s cutting costs or streamlining processes, the ultimate goal is to improve performance and plan ahead for continued progress. This can be quite hard if companies aren’t measuring key metrics or tracking important aspects of their day to day operations.
With this said, it’s shocking to find out that a whopping 18% of SMBs do not track any part of their operations! This makes it all the more difficult to find areas that needs improvement, or that could become stars in their own right with just a small nudge in the right direction.
This post will take you through 5 business aspects you ought to be tracking for improved business performance. Whether you’re striving for efficiency, accountability, or financial stability, the indicators below will train you to think through your operations the right way.
Tracking business assets
“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Planning is a huge part of improving productivity. It doesn’t just mean making sure things work smoothly on their own, but also ensuring that all aspects of your business are in harmony and work well together. For example, you want your employees to be on track to meet their monthly goals, and for that you’d want all your business assets to be available to them whenever they’re required. Not just this, but you’d want them to be maintained regularly, with detailed histories so you know who to hold accountable for equipment loss or damage. An asset tracking system can do all of this, so there are no unexpected breakdowns or reservation conflicts when people want to use certain in-demand business items.
Tracking assets doesn’t just help you plan more effectively but can also be a quick and easy way to improve ROIs. For example, around 30% of businesses aren’t aware of all the assets they own, where they are located, or who has custody of them. Think of all the savings they’d make if they were able to organize asset checkouts more efficiently based on where they’re located, for example, or if they could stop paying taxes on ghost equipment. An asset tracking software like EZOfficeInventory would be a great option to lower overheads in this way.
Tracking marketing ROI
“As social media grows and matures, showing a return becomes critical.” – Heidi Cohen
Marketing has become much trickier in recent years. It’s true that getting your message out there has never been easier, but at the same time it’s much harder to know if you’re being drowned out by other, louder voices. With the growth of digital media consumption, companies are fighting the online space for more visibility. Studies have found that only around 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. Now more than ever, it is crucial to measure the value your marketing campaigns bring to you.
A viral post or high engagement on your social profiles doesn’t mean all those interested parties are being converted into leads. You need to know which investments are good from a visibility perspective, and which are good for actual conversions. This will give you a lot of great insights into what works for your business and your market space. Whether it’s blogging, print ads, or unconventional guerrilla campaigns, the trick is to know what your customers in particular respond to.
Tracking employee hours
“There is nothing less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker
Everyone knows that happy employees are also the most productive employees. However, one more thing employees across the board really like is certainty. With clear lines of authority, and little guesswork on their goals and challenges for the day, you can bet they’ll do some of their best work! This is why tracking employee hours and taking away ambiguity about work expectations can be a great way to make things easier for them.
Not only can it add a bit of consistency to their schedule, but it will also give them a chance to formalize the prioritization of projects based on how much time should be spent on certain tasks. Of course, the business also benefits from this in a more direct way. Problems like time theft and late arrivals can be nipped in the bud if a formal system of measuring employee work hours is introduced to a business. Tools like Timesheets can help businesses with scheduling and HR tracking, enabling efficiency for both the company and its employees.
“If you’re not gonna go all the way, why go at all?”
– Joe Namath
Competition can actually be great for business. It shows you have a discerning, passionate consumer base that knows what it wants and doesn’t want to compromise on anything. It can force you to improve the way you do things, try to relate to your customers better, or incorporate their feedback to expand your audience more quickly, That said, businesses can never be passive when it comes to competition. One should always keep an eye on business rivals, and try to predict their next move through intensive competitive analysis. You should also be using benchmarking as a standard practice, not just measuring your performance against your competitors, but also against your past self!
Basic information about competitors can be manipulated and analyzed to gain more in-depth insights. For example, you could try to work out if it’s worth overtaking competitors in some areas rather than cultivating your own niche and nurturing it as best you can. In this way, your competition can actually make you ‘more you’ rather than forcing you to jump on the latest commercial bandwagon!
“The secret to financial security is not to have more money, but having more control over the money we presently have.”
– Auliq Ice
Talks of business management are incomplete without the delicate question of money. What’s coming into a company, and what’s going out? Are all our expenses justified, and can we achieve the same results by spending a little less? Tracking your finances and making sure you have enough for both long-term business plans as well as any unexpected turns in the future is just common sense!
So, how does one begin to track money in an organization effectively? One has to start somewhere, and starting small is always a great idea! Small business owners should make sure they’re clearly delineating business and personal expenditures, perhaps by having separate bank accounts and studiously recording all financial activities in logs. For more complex operations, an enterprise-level tool such as Quickbooks or Xero would be a great way to balance your books and map out expenditure trends and commitments. This kind of effort would give you greater freedom to do what you want, and enable you to be more responsive to market trends!
As we’ve seen, conventional metrics such as gross margins, customer retention, and sales revenue aren’t the only things your business should be tracking. Tracking big-picture business aspects such as employee hours or company assets can endorse a more holistic approach towards your business and the market you’re catering to. This is because you’re not just looking at a few numbers in isolation, but are trying to track the entire business ecosystem, and creating linkages to see how different spheres inform and support each other. This can be invaluable in terms of lowering costs and raising ROIs.
So if you’re not on board yet, pull out those records and get tracking!
This article was contributed by EZOfficeInventory. Featured on TechCrunch, it has enabled thousands of businesses to improve ROIs, recover losses, and increase team collaboration.