We all have busy lives, therefore it’s good to have an easy way to quickly check-in and see if all is OK. This is crucial for all aspects of our life and also our business…
Actually I should say especially when it comes to our business.
Your business might be sick or dying!
Do you have a way to tell if your business is healthy and thriving or whether it came down with the flu or worse? You might say, sure, I have a bookkeeper and and accountant that files my taxes.
Sorry to disappoint you, but that doesn’t count !
Although bookkeeping and filing taxes are mandatory tasks, they haven’t prevented any business from failing.
On the contrary.
Taxes are filed the next year and even bookkeeping is only done after the fact, often only once every quarter or even less. It could be too late by then.
So what should you do ?
You probably are guessing it already. Yes! I am talking about the dreaded task of tracking your numbers.And before you click away, yawn and fall asleep or get all annoyed, bear with me and please continue reading!
I know tracking your numbers seems to be a voluntary task, and that’s why a lot of entrepreneur and small businesses skip it all together, why bother right?
Tracking the numbers of your business on a regular basis is a quick and necessary health check.
Like a lot of stuff in our lives, it’s not the mandatory tasks imposed on us, that get us to succeed. It’s the extra curriculum, the tasks we do on top of the minimum required that get us ahead of the game. The people who succeed are usually the ones that are willing to go the extra mile. Tracking your numbers deals with the present and it’s done in the present.
It’s like consulting a map before you start driving from A to B and then checking back on a regular basis to make sure you are on track and driving into the right direction.
Here is how it works
When I say you need to track your numbers, I don’t just talk about the act of writing down the numbers. That is the first step, but on it’s own doesn’t do you any good.
More important is to actually look at your numbers, interpret your numbers, analyse your numbers, and listen to your numbers!
Also, that’s where the fun comes in, you’ll see !
Tracking sales as an example
By tracking your sales on a daily or weekly basis, and then compare them over a period of time you will be able to see if you have steady sales, increasing sales or if your sales are maybe decreasing.
Increasing sales obviously indicate that you are doing something right. Steady sales can be a good thing or it can be a first alarm sign, it depends on your business and the circumstances while decreasing sales should catapult you out of your comfy office chair to go and explore the reasons.
For example, if you know (or realize) that you have very low sales in August, compare this with last years numbers and see if it was a similar situation. If yes, your business could be seasonal and lower sales have to be expected, or extra effort and special marketing tactics are needed to keep the sales up.
On the other hand, if sales declined for August but last year’s August was one of your best months, reasons for the decline have to be found so you can do something about it before it is too late.
This gives you the opportunity to intervene and fix a problem before it escalates.
You get to know your business better, which in turn puts you in the driver seat and in control of your business.
Insights like this are also a solid foundation for your marketing and promotion strategies
They influence what products and/or services you sell. They are the basis of future marketing strategies and campaigns, and they show you when to put on promotions to boost your sales, to just name a few.
Get started now
If you don’t track your numbers yet, I urge you to do so. Start small and expand over time. My suggestion is to start with your sales, later add expenses, then social media etc.
Here are the steps you take:
Create a simple spreadsheet to track your sales or download my free sample spreadsheet here
Step 2 Get into the habit of filling in this spreadsheet, either daily, weekly or at least once a month.
Step 3 Set yourself a goal of how much Sales you would like to have per year and divide this by 12. Then every month check if you are on track to reach your goal. More advanced: If this is your second or more year of business, find out what sales you had the year before at the same day (week or month) and compare it to this years numbers.
Step 4 If your sales are up, pat yourself on the back. If your numbers are down, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, pat yourself on the back for knowting this fact and then start investigating what the reasons could be.
A step 5) could be to create a sales budget for next year based on the numbers you tracked for this year and last year. But this is a topic for a future post, let’s not get ahead of our selves.
Download the sample spreadsheet here or create your own, and start today to track your sales and more importantly, listen to what they are teaching you about your business. If you need help ‘hearing’ what your numbers are telling you, let me know, I am happy to help.
Take good care
PS: download your free sales tracking spreadsheet here
PPS: Want to learn more on this topic or help creating your custom Sales tracking spreadsheet? Email me and sign up for a 1:1 session.
This is perfect for me right now. I was all set to ignore it because I don’t have enough sales to make a spreadsheet necessary, but I realized that I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and here is a small, specific way to break down what I’m doing. Sales or none, I still need to have a goal number every month. Thanks for the spreadsheet!
This reminds me of the quote “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder”. In our case the man is a woman of course 🙂 A sales goal gets you to focus, and where we put focus and energy things will eventually grow.
thank you Conny for this great reminder! Setting up process and tracking is so important. I work with some small business owners and they sure need some encouragement in this area.
thank you for your feedback Anna, I appreciate it very much
This is a great thing for me to incorporate right now–I am currently setting up a new systems for my daily operations, and tracking these kinds of numbers is something I need to remember to do! Thanks for breaking it all down so well–very helpful!
Thank you for your feedback and I am happy to hear that I was able to break it down well. My goal is to help people see that finances don’t have to be scary or complicated. We all can do it 🙂
Thanks for making this concept simple and easy to implement. I’m not doing a good job of tracking right now so I definitely needed to read this!!
You are welcome and don’t put yourself down for ‘not doing a good job’. Start very simple and build up from there
I need to be better at doing this. Thanks for the hints.
you are very welcome
What a helpful post! You’ve inspired me to use a similar tracking system for my writing and to track my progress toward my goals.
Wow that’s great Roisin!
Thanks Conny! Tracking…It seems so simple, but it is such a powerful tool to know exactly how our business is doing and keep it growing!
It’s often the simple things that are powerful, but people search for complicated
Thanks for creating this great tool, Conny. I agree that tracking makes all the difference in the world. I have a spreadsheet that I use to track some daily and weekly goals, and it’s really boosted my accountability, my insight into what’s working and what’s not, and clarity about where to put my attention.
yes the insights of what’s working and what’s not are the reward of keeping track, you got it !