EP 50: Why You Need to Measure What Matters to Achieve Your Business Goals

Today, we’re talking about the numbers; the numbers that you should be tracking to make sure that you can achieve your business goals.

I can’t believe it. We are officially at episode 50. It feels like such an incredible milestone. Fifty episodes of the Uncomplicate Your Business Podcast.

Fifty episodes of me sharing as much as I can about how you can live more and work less by learning how to be more simple and strategic in your business and how you approach your business.

If you’ve been loving the podcast, if this is one of the podcasts that you look forward to listening to each week, it would mean so much to me today if, in celebration of episode 50, you just take a minute to hop into iTunes and rate and review the podcast.

It just takes a minute, but when you do that it helps the podcast to get out there in front of more overwhelmed, burned out, tired of spinning their wheels entrepreneurs who are really ready to embrace a simpler and more strategic approach to a business that really works for you.

Speaking of a business that really works for you and keeping things simple and strategic, I was thinking recently about a journey I’ve been on.

Not in my business, but in my personal health.I don’t know if I’ve ever actually mentioned this before, but about a year and a half ago, I had a scary medical diagnosis.

I was told by my doctor that I had pre-diabetes. I wasn’t quite diabetic, but I had a lot of markers trending in that direction. Diabetes is something that runs in my family, so this scared me a lot.

I had a grandmother who was insulin-dependent, my dad has dealt with diabetes-related things on and off for a long time and I knew that I needed to get some things under control.

One of the big areas that I struggle with and has always been a challenge for me has been my health and has been making sure that I make time for exercise and that I’m paying attention to what I eat.

Like a lot of people, I love a brownie. I love a glass of wine. It’s really easy for me to overeat or to turn to food for comfort and things like that.

Last year, when I had that reality check, I started this journey of trying to take better care of my health. But I wanted to do it in a place of self-love and not of crash diets or hurting myself through working out.

In fact, in the past I had gone in that direction, did extreme diets, did the extreme working out and I always ended up with an injury, with being in a lot of pain and then I ended up right back where I was.

This journey has been quite a personal journey.

It’s been one of the reasons why I have been so focused on keeping my business simple and strategic so that I have the time that I need to take care of myself.

I was recently looking at the progress that I have made in my own personal health.

One of the things that I started to do, which I had never really done before was I started using a cool little tool called My Fitness Pal.

I promise this has something to do with business I just want you to listen to my journey here because I bet you can relate to this.

In the past, whenever I had struggled with a health challenge or I had decided I was going to lose some weight, I would just kind of crash on a diet.

I would focus on something that was very, very strict and I never really paid attention to what I was putting in my body the way that I have been now that I’m using a tool like My Fitness Pal.

It’s an app on my phone and it helps me to track a few different things. One, it helps me track my exercise, which is great. It ties in with the health app on my iPhone so it knows how much I’ve been walking. Which is really cool.

If I walked for an hour this morning, it’s going to let me know that I got my walking in that day. It helps me track other exercises. I can actually go in there and say I did three rounds of squats and I did walking lunges and some weight lifting.

That’s what I love to do. I think my body is just designed that way. I love the weight related stuff and long walks. That’s what I really enjoy and my body feels best doing that as opposed to lots of running. Just not a runner.

It also helps me to track my intake of food. It helps me to track what I am putting in my mouth each and every day. It also breaks down how many calories I should be eating each and every day and the macronutrients – the protein, fat, carbohydrates.

Every time I input food and because it’s such a robust little app, I can say, “I had a cheese stick from Costco” because that’s where I buy my cheese sticks for myself and my kids, and it knows exactly the nutrition inside of that.

It’s tracking very specifically what I’m using to fuel my body. With just a quick click, I can see if I need to eat more protein today, if I need to have some more fat in my diet today, see if I am under my calorie goal or over my calorie goal.

I can really track what’s going on there and I can track how much movement I am getting.

It all works together really well. In fact, each time I go out and do my hour-long walk, it tells me how many calories I’ve earned back. If I have a 1400 calorie diet plan, but I walked for an hour, I get 100 extra calories.

It’s really cool the way that this has helped me. As I pay attention to this, I can definitely see that when I’m logging in and tracking each and every day my exercise and my nutrition, then the progress comes naturally. I reach those goals.

In the past, I used to stay focused on getting on the scale very single day. I would do crazy terrible stuff to myself trying to just make the scale move.

Now, I know that if I stay focused on the leading metrics – what I’m doing today – that the lagging metrics – what the number on the scale says or if I’m able to button up my skinny jeans – will follow.

This is something that you can relate to business because there are things that dramatically impact the end result.

In my health journey, the end result that finally got me to the point where I was no longer considered pre-diabetic, which is such a good win for me, it’s such a huge relief off my shoulders, is getting the weight back in the range it needed to be, getting all the bloodwork in the range it should be.

But my bloodwork was something I couldn’t test on my own very easily unless I went to the doctor. But I could track the food I was taking in. I really had to watch my carbohydrate intake and my sugar levels.

I did that through tracking my food, the leading metrics, each and every day. The weeks were I was tracking every day and I was paying attention, the results showed up.

I was losing the weight I needed to lose, my energy was going through the roof, I felt so much better, I slept so much better and so many things started going right. But it’s really hard to do that in reverse.

It’s really hard to just step on the scale and then hope that everything else will work itself out.

You have to pay attention to what drives the results.

How does the journey with My Fitness Pal relate in your business?

With what My Fitness Pal knows and why this app is so successful and why so many people love it is that if you track the things that make the impact every single day, every single week, you will see the results that you’re looking for in time.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs who just keep throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping that something is going to stick. But the problem with throwing the spaghetti at the wall is that you never know what’s actually working.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you’re trying too many things and not tracking your results, you never know when something works.” quote=”If you’re trying way too many things and you’re not tracking your results, you never actually know when something works and when everything else isn’t working. “]

You’re working way too hard.

That’s one reason My Fitness Pal is great. It knows that nutrition is probably 80% – at least this is what I heard from my trainer and a bunch of other people – of managing your health and weight loss. Exercise is only 20%.

If nutrition really is the thing that moves the needle for your health more than just about anything else, then it makes sense that that’s the one thing – the leading metric – that you absolutely should be tracking.

In your business, could you pinpoint the one thing? That one leading metric that would tell you if you’re the most likely to reach your goals.

What are leading metrics and what are lagging metrics? I’m using these terms. Leading metrics is the front end of the process. This is the thing you can track that happens before your lagging metric.

In the case of My Fitness Pal in my health journey here, the lagging metric that I could track was stepping on the scale. That was a lagging metric I could track.

It was fitting into a different pair of clothes – the size of my clothes. It could have even been measurements if I would have taken a tape measure to measure myself. That’s another measurement that I could easily take that is lagging – the final metric.

But if I want to impact that lagging metric, I had to pay attention to the biggest thing that would indicate where I was going to go with that and that was my nutrition and what I was eating.

For your business, your lagging metric is going to be revenue.

Revenue is the last thing that you can measure. It’s the last part of the process. But if all you’re tracking is revenue, then you never actually know how you got it or what’s working to help you get it.

If all you do is track your revenue every single month, it’s after the fact and you don’t actually know how you could increase that revenue or what strategies are working to bring you revenue.

What does this look like in your business?

A lagging metric in your business is revenue.

Once that revenue has come through the doors, it’s the final step in this whole process that your business is going through to attract, engage, nurture and invite people into your business. The challenge with only tracking revenue is that it’s the last part of the process.

Yes, tracking your revenue on a regular basis will tell you if you’re making progress towards your goals.

If you’re tracking your revenue each and every week and you have a monthly revenue goal, you’ll be able to tell whether or not you’re closer to that revenue goal.

Let’s say this week you brought in $2000 and your revenue goal is $16,000 for the month. You can tell every single week if you made $1000 the first week and $2000 the second week and only $1000 the third week. You’ll be able to tell, “I need $2000 more in order to hit that $6000.”

But, the revenue metric itself, tracking revenue on its own, doesn’t actually give you enough information to figure out how you can effectively get more revenue.

That’s where the leading metric comes in.

That’s where you have to figure out the thing that most impacts the final metric, the lagging metric. Like I mentioned in My Fitness Pal, 80% of weight loss is all about nutrition. It’s all about tracking nutrition.

Even if I don’t track any exercise at all, if all I do is track my food, I’m going to make a major impact in the final goal that I have, which is improving my health, getting off diabetes medication and losing the weight I needed to lose.

In your business, that leading metric needs to have just as big of an impact.

It needs to be something that makes 80% of the final result. That’s important to think about because there’s a lot of leading metrics that you could track, depending on your business.

You want to make sure that you’re differentiating between the leading metric that follows a greater principle – 20% of the energy impacts 80% of the results. You want to make sure that you’re focused on that metric instead of vanity metrics.

Let’s talk about what types of leading metrics you should be tracking.

In my business, because I have a training business and I offer group training programs like Get More Clients or Sweet Spot Strategy, the leading metric I track is my email list.

That is the process I’m taking people through. That is the vehicle we use to take people through the entire process of finding me, getting to know me in my business, getting to hear about my programs and then enrolling into a program.

If they land on my website, we invite them to join the Fired Up and Focused Challenge or to check out a webinar. All of those things are pathways into my programs. For us, tracking our emails is a big leading metric.

I know that if we’re tracking our emails, we can determine whether or not we’re going to hit our revenue goals very, very easily.

In the past, when I was primarily offering one-on-one coaching and consulting, emails didn’t really matter because I wasn’t focused on an email-based marketing and sales strategy.

Instead, what I was focused on, what would have been the best leading metric for me, would have been how many free consult calls I’m booking this week.

I would need to be focused on that because I knew that for every one out of four consult calls would become a client. If I had a goal of getting gone new client a week, I needed to have four consult calls a week.

I could very easily tell whether or not I’d achieved my revenue goals simply by tracking that leading metric; the one thing that made the biggest impact.

Could you also move backwards from that and track a metric that’s ahead of that?

Yes. If I needed to have four consult calls a week in order to get that one client, then I can ask myself where those consult calls are coming from. Maybe they’re coming from traffic to my page.

Maybe they’re coming from a workshop that I hosted. Let’s say my goal is four consult calls a week and those consult calls came from teaching a free workshop in my local community – this is literally what I used to do.

Then my goal would be to host a workshop every two weeks with a goal of getting 20 people in those workshops. If I had 20 people in those workshops, I’d be able to fill my free consult calls and then I’d be able to get my client.

You just need to work backwards a little bit and figure out what the metrics are that help you see if your process to attract, engage, nurture and invite people into your business is actually working.

You want to make sure that as you’re thinking about those leading and lagging metrics – and this is going to depend a little bit on your individual business model.

If you are a high touch business model – a coach, consultant, private teacher – then you’re probably going to be tracking something like new client inquiries, new conversations. That’s going to be a leading metric for you.

If you are focused on enrolling people into group programs or online training programs, then you need to think about how they get into your process for becoming a client. Is it email? If that’s it, then you need to track email.

What you want to avoid is getting too hung up on too many metrics.

This is where some people just drive themselves crazy or hide under the covers from the numbers in their business. It starts to get really overwhelming. They start tracking way too much and they start hyperventilating about it.

Numbers can make you crazy. We don’t all love looking at spreadsheets.

You want to make sure you’re not overanalyzing this stuff. You want to watch out for those vanity metrics.

What are the vanity metrics I don’t pay attention to that much?

We track them, but I don’t really stress out about them. Things like how many followers I have on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

Is it good to know that?

Sure. Over the course of six months, I want to make sure that that’s probably going up. But I also know that those followers aren’t necessarily becoming clients in that way. People don’t leave Facebook and become a paying client of mine, they leave Facebook and come get in my email list.

I don’t really stress out about vanity metrics.

The number of followers are not a huge deal breaker to me. In fact, I know a lot of people who have hundreds of thousands of people who follow them on a platform like Instagram, but their businesses don’t actually make much money.

They’re confused. They’re like, “Why isn’t this happening? I have so many followers.

Well, that’s not necessarily the right leading metric to track because it’s not connected to the way that people actually engage and become paying clients.

You have to make sure that what you are tracking is directly related to what makes an impact in your business.

We are approaching the midway point for 2017. I can’t believe we are close. By the time this episode goes out, my kids are just about out of school.

One of the things I start to do around the midpoint of the year – and actually every quarter – is I’ll sit down and do a big metrics review to make sure that, big picture, we are on track with our goals.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Metrics shouldn’t be something that you wait to review only once a year or every six months. ” quote=”Metrics shouldn’t be something that you wait to review only once a year or every six months. ” theme=”style2″]

That’s not often enough to make sure that you’re getting where you want to go.

Like I mentioned in My Fitness Pal, I’m actually inputting my information, the metrics that help me determine whether I’m on or off track, every single day.

My goal is to not break that streak. On the days that I input everything and I’m tracking everything, it becomes easier. It becomes easier to stay on track, stay focused and to make sure I’m doing the right things that make the impact I want it to make.

The days where I fall off, suddenly became multiple days where I fall off and then I’m not seeing the results that I want.

Choose a metric that is actually going to drive results in your business and stay focused on that.

Make sure that it’s a leading metric that directly is tied to revenue, to the path to revenue, in your business.

Whether you track it every day or simply once a week, I promise by starting to pay attention to it, you’ll also start finding yourself aligning to do the activities that help you to make those numbers work, that help you to make sure that you’re hitting those goals.

With My Fitness Pal, every time that I open it and I start adding in things, I start thinking about what I need to meal prep this week. What am I going to have for lunches this week? I start planning to make sure that I’m going to achieve the goals that I want to.

When it comes to your business, when you start paying attention to it, you’re going to start asking yourself:

  • “What do I need to do this week to get more people on my email list,”
  • “What do I need to do this week to make sure I can get X number of people to book a new session with me?”

That is how you start to drive results.

I hope this conversation about measuring what matters, paying attention to your leading metrics and your lagging metrics doesn’t overwhelm you and doesn’t make you feel nervous.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Talking about numbers isn’t easy, but when you understand this concept, you empower yourself. ” quote=”Talking about numbers is never easy, but when you start to understand this concept, you empower yourself. ” theme=”style2″]

You give yourself the control that you really need over your business; the ability to make more educated, strategic decisions about what you are working on in your business.

You’re more easily able to actually control the end result and get your business towards that end result.

I find that each time I track, each time I focus on the leading metric that I know drives results for my business, I stay more focused and I don’t let those shiny objects pull me off course.

Just like when I’m tracking every day in My Fitness Pal, I don’t let the pile of Girl Scout cookies in my cabinets pull me off course and suddenly a sleeve of Thin Mints is gone.

When you’re tracking, you know what’s important.

You know what’s required to help you achieve your goals and you’re less likely to be pulled in a different direction.