How to Tell If Your Business is on Track

You work hard to develop and grow your business through the course of the year. But when running the business takes up so much of your energy, it can be difficult to find the time work on the business. Yes, you’re making money, but that’s not the only factor when  determining whether your business development is successful. Business success can come in a variety of forms depending on your goals and strategies, so it’s important to consider the different ways that you measure it.

The first step in determining if your business is successful is to set clear goals that you can measure against when the time is right. Planning and setting goals months, quarters or even years in advance will help to drive both your business strategy and determine how you measure success.

For any business, reviewing financial statements is one of the key ways to measure success. But keep in mind that many of your financial metrics are driven by intangibles, such as culture, behavior, and morale. It’s important to establish KPIs in all key areas, so that you are managing all relevant components, not just revenues and expenses.

Looking Back At the Numbers

Evaluate business success through the lens of the various factors that contribute to your success, or lack thereof. Consider leading indicators such as new leads, relationship value, and follow-up activity. Improving efficiencies in these areas will ultimately optimize your sales pipeline, and by extension, your top line revenue.

A review of the leading and lagging indicators helps you determine if you need to drive more total leads, or focus more on lead quality for your business development team to convert into clients or customers. Many businesses ignore this key element of business development simply because it seems complex or it simply isn’t a protocol embraced by their industry. There are sales pipeline management software products specifically designed for professional service firms that allow an easy rollout, implementation, and analysis of your sales data so you can start implementing sales best practices.

It is widely understood that business success is contingent on client satisfaction, yet few firms monitor this metric across their client base. At a minimum, firms should initiate annual feedback surveys using online tools for the smaller clients, telephone surveys for the mid-sized clients, and in-person surveys for their top 25-50 clients. The feedback received almost invariably strengthens the client relationship, provides cross-selling opportunities, and identifies opportunities to enhance service offerings. Weave a feedback strategy into your business plan ensure that your service objectives compliment your new business goals.

Looking Ahead

Building a successful business requires you to keep up with industry trends, invest time, test, and make adjustments along the way. Most people don’t carve out the time required for such process improvement, so they settle for whatever growth they happen to achieve as a product of their hard work. But if you’re interested in optimizing your growth (and working smartly), define the road ahead with goals, harness those goals with KPIs, keep an eye on your clients’ experience, and regularly monitor whether you are staying on track.