Your critical numbers
Establish your critical numbers; to improve the KPIs that have the biggest impact.
The Covid-19 crisis has created a “new normal” for businesses. Traditional ways of working are being challenged and we now need to innovate, adapt, re-engineer, and reinvent the way we work. Lockdown gave us time to consider our options, but two important questions often remain unanswered:
- How will we know if we are on track or not?
- Are our new plans actually working?
It goes without saying that our success needs to be measured. But it’s important for us to know what to measure. Your critical numbers are the levers that, if pulled, make the biggest impact to your results. Choose four or five critical numbers to measure. These may vary between businesses, for example, most businesses should know their minimum viable sales number per day or week for survival. Likewise, knowing the gross margin needed to cover your overhead costs and living expenses will be critical for many businesses.
Some tailored critical numbers might be:
Once we’re clear on the critical numbers we should be measuring, we need to establish how to measure them. Having real-time, cloud-based data is the new standard, so having the right software is important. The way you capture data may require additional planning. For example, you may need to make changes to your coding or reporting structure to measure your sales or margin by product type to assess the viability of different product lines. These changes will help to give you peace of mind and certainty that you’re on track. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.” - James Harrington