6 Key Metrics to Track Small Business Growth
Every business will have their own critical success factors to indicate how well they are doing.It could be sales growth, the number of new leads, customers retained, recurring monthly revenue or agricultural yields. However, there are several ratios commonly used by businesses to keep tabs on how they’re performing. Review which could be relevant to you and then identify ways to strengthen these numbers.
Gross MarginGross margin is the difference between what you pay for a product and what you sell it for (if you don’t have physical products then skip this one). Look to improve your gross margin by:
- Increasing your prices.
- Reducing cost of goods sold (COGS) by using lower cost materials or different components where possible, without affecting quality.
- Asking your current supplier to reassess their pricing (especially if you have a good long-term relationship).
- Reducing waste. Conduct an exercise to spot any areas where there is excess waste and then devise ways to minimise. Buy only what you need.
- Recycle and reuse any waste materials you can and make sure your employees are doing so as well.
Average Revenue Per CustomerIncrease the number of things customers buy from you. It can be products, hours, services, warranties, insurance; anything where a customer is encouraged to buy two things rather than one. Build average revenue by:
- Use sales data to identify what your best customers are buying; think of other products or services that could be sold with them, and tailor special offers to bring these customers in more often.
- Cross-sell and up-sell.
- Bundle products and services together.
- Focus on your ‘gold’ customers – those responsible for high, profitable sales. Target the ones with the most potential and then develop a specific proactive plan for each of them.
Revenue growthSteady, predictable revenue growth is the sign of a healthy company. Grow revenue by:
- Using in-bound CRM software to better predict who is more likely to buy from you and set up lead generator tools or content (download our whitepaper), to gather interested prospects to follow up.
- Develop new products or services for your existing customers.
- Creating a marketing plan to identify, locate and sell to new customers.
- Look for new distribution channels to expand your customer base, such as third-party selling (Amazon, e-bay, iTunes etc), and your website.
Revenue Per EmployeeRevenue per employee can be affected by several factors, including average revenue per user, better systems and processes, and automation. It’s often useful for those businesses that sell per hour. To encourage higher revenue per employee, try:
- Making sure staff have the equipment and training they need to do the job right and keep them informed about business performance and management decisions
- Setting goals for your employees. Help them put a sales plan in place, and then measure how successful it is.
- Making sure your sales data is transparent, so everyone knows who’s selling the most.
Net Profit PercentageThis is the margin that accrues from all the effort of a business and is the ultimate measure of how a company is being operated. Increase your net profit percentage by:
- Reviewing your equipment needs. It could be that you’re better off leasing equipment only when it’s needed, rather than buying it outright.
- Looking at outsourcing some of your staff needs, such as administrative tasks like payroll, to companies that will charge a monthly fee instead of a salary.
- Making sure you swiftly collect money that’s owed to you – it should be coming in faster than you must pay it out.
Net Promotor ScoreTracking customer satisfaction by asking for opinions, feedback and ratings can give invaluable indication of dissatisfaction (for remedying) and of potential advocacy (for marketing amplification). Anything that improves the communication between customers and a business should lead to better decision-making. Try:
- Analysing the market to identify trends and try to predict customer needs. Find out what people are saying about your competitors and use that information to improve the customer experience in your own business.
- Keeping track of any customer complaints. Document who the customer is, what they were unhappy about, what was done to resolve it and if they went away satisfied.
- Making the most of social media to keep in touch with your customers and measure their levels of satisfaction.
- Using email, send out annual or bi-annual customer satisfaction surveys.
Decide which of the six numbers you want to measure, then set up monthly reporting so you can see if they are improving each month. If not, then you can act before the number deteriorates further. Implement those actions that are relevant to your business to improve each number. The higher and better these can be, the stronger your business.