When you’re running a business, you need to be thinking of the strength of the edifice you’ve built. If you’re not measuring your success, you don’t truly know whether you’re in charge of a ship that’s going to sail into the future for many years to come, or if it’s slowly filling with water down in the bilges where you can’t see.
Today we’re looking a few ways you can measure the strength of your business, so can be sure you’re making the right decisions, and identify issues before they become problems.
A major source of investment for many businesses is branding, so you need to know customers recognise your brand and think it’s the right one for them. If your message isn’t reaching customers through your branding then they simply can’t spend money with you!
Brand Trackers are surveys that measure customers response to your brand: do they recognise it? What do they think of it? And where does it rate compared to your rivals?
It’s important to dig into these results: 100% brand recognition isn’t a success story if it’s recognised and hated! Knowing just what customers think of your brand and whether you’re surging in popularity compared to your rivals or falling behind is vital information that lets you measure the strength of your business in real terms, not abstract figures.
Money in the Bank
Of course, the one universal measure of success is money: if you’re making it, you’re strong and if you’re not you might have a fatal weakness.
The truth is a little more complex than that, however: you might be experiencing a temporary shortfall in cash as a result of some major investment for the future. Unless you have a sophisticated, long term measurement of profit and loss, this might lead you to conclude you’ve made mistakes compared with a business that has lots of money in the bank as a result of avoiding investing in its own infrastructure.
If you’re not prepared to spend money developing your business, you’ll feel strong until you encounter a setback, and then you’ll realise you’re under prepared and don’t have the vital resilience you need to carry you through.
Setting sensible targets for your business that take into accounts its very specific need and capabilities is the way to measure success here: specificity is the most important quality you can develop in target setting and your own understanding. There is no off the peg definition of strength and success for any business, only what success looks like for your business in particular.