how to track your growth
Every business will have their own critical success factors to indicate how well they are doing. It could be items like sales growth, the number of new leads, customers retained, recurring monthly revenue or agricultural yields.
However, did you know there are several ratios that are easy to monitor and commonly used by businesses to keep tabs on how they’re performing? Check out which could be relevant to you and tips on how to strengthen these numbers.
Number 1: Gross margin
Gross 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)
- Identifying any areas where there is excess waste and reducing that waste by only buying what you need
- Recycling and reusing any waste materials you can and educating your employees on how to do so
Number 2: Average revenue per customer
Increase the number of things customers buy from you. This can include products, hours, services, warranties or insurance. Look for opportunities where a customer is encouraged to buy two things rather than one.
Examples of ways to build average revenue:
- 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
- Up-sell and cross-sell
- Bundle products and services together
- Focus on your ‘gold’ customers – those responsible for high, profitable sales and develop a proactive plan to target the customers with the most potential
Number 3: Revenue growth
Steady, predictable revenue growth is the sign of a healthy company.
Grow revenue by:
- Using in-bound customer relationship management (CRM) software to better predict who is more likely to buy from you and set up lead generator tools or content to gather interested prospects to follow up
- Developing new products or services for your existing customers
- Creating a marketing plan to identify, locate and sell to new customers
- Looking for new distribution channels to expand your customer base, such as third-party selling (Amazon, eBay, etc), and your website
- Franchising, especially if demand for your product or service warrants it
Number 4: Revenue per employee
Revenue 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 to help them put a sales plan in place, and then measure how successful it is
- Making sure your sales data is transparent, making everyone aware of each other’s progress to create healthy sales numbers competition
Number 5: Net profit
This 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:
- Lowering overhead by looking around for better deals on costs such as energy, internet, and phones
- Reviewing your equipment needs to determine if 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
Number 6: Net promoter score
Tracking customer satisfaction by asking for opinions, feedback and ratings can give invaluable indications 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.
- Analyzing 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 complaint information including 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
By tracking and improving these six variables, you should be able to improve your gross margin, raise the value of your average sale, drive revenue, build the productivity of employees, increase your net profit percentage, and have happier customers.
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.