I see it all the time, people track the wrong data. Or better yet, they don’t track anything at all. As a data geek, I use data on a daily basis and you should to. Read on to find out the 3 secrets about data every business owner should know about. Every time you try to make a decision as yourself the following question: Am I missing useful information to make the best decision possible? In the next few paragraphs I am going to de-mistify data for you. Don’t be intimidated, you already know everything you need to know. It doesn’t matter if you are selling a service or advanced apps for phones, everything can be measured. I break down data in 3 easy to digest chunks: What, How, Show.
Data secret #1: What should you measure?
Think about what you do every day and ask yourself these questions:
- What do my customers complain about?
- Where do I or my employees spend most of our time?
- Do I know how much my service is costing me?
The simpler you think of this way to measure, the easier it will be to start tracking. The point here is to find simple things in your business you can start tracking right now. You can be fancy and put it in Excel or just have a piece of paper and tally the defects, or how long it takes.
Data secret #2: How
Once you have identified the What you should measure, think about how to measure it. The questions you should answer for yourself are:
- Can I measure it? If so, you should measure using a continuum like inches, time, days, widgets. This can be easily displayed in a graph or a table over time.
- Do I count it? In this case you want to measure a rate of something. i.e. how many defects per output (defect/output), proportions, counts. This is best shown as a percentage on a graph over time.
Keep in mind again, the simpler the better.
Data secret #3: Show
Now comes the most important step of the 3 secrets, Show me. Make what you measure visual and show it to yourself, your employees, or your customers. Imagine walking into a coffee shop and seeing a sign on the wall that reads: “we get 99.6% of all customer orders right, and our goal is 100%” Customers will grant you instant credibility if you show that you are measuring the right stuff. Or you can have a sign that reads: “our goal is to serve our customers in 2.3 minutes, and we have averaged 2.1 minutes over the last month”. Doesn’t that make you feel good? Very simple to have a number on the wall. It is a great motivator for your team once you make it visible, otherwise how in earth do you know you are making progress?
Identify the what you should measure in your business today. Once you pick it identify the how using the information above. Then show it off and set goals or targets, you will gain instant credibility with your customers. In my world, everything revolves mourned measurement so I challenge you to start measuring and reporting today.
Until next time,