More than 2,000 years ago, well before calculators, computers, and Excel, a Greek philosopher realized that the world is built upon the power of numbers. Unfortunately, most of us today are so frightened by numbers that we not only refuse to believe in their power, but we ignore them altogether. Sadly, this is a big mistake – especially for business owners and member organization directors.
Numbers matter. They really matter. And they should be the reason for your every move and decision.
Now, we should denote here that when we say “numbers,” we’re not talking strictly in dollar signs. Although the financial aspect of any business is what’s most important in the end, there are a lot of other critical numbers that factor into how we get there.
To better explain, let’s give you a (made up but based on reality) example: Susan owns a hair salon in downtown Saratoga. She knows only two numbers about her business: her existing profits, x, and her desired profits, y. Unfortunately, Susan is missing out on a lot of numbers in between and those numbers are precisely why there is such a difference between x and y.
Among other missing puzzle pieces, Susan doesn’t know how many of her emails get opened, how many people visit her website or facebook page, how long it takes for people to cash in on discounts, or how often her online contact with clients turns into a profitable transaction. Sadly, Susan doesn’t know if she’s spending her small budget and her already stretched time wisely.
In other words, Susan is missing a lot of key information and, unfortunately, Susan makes up the majority of small, medium, and even major, business owners around the country. The reasons are many: unfamiliarity with such metrics, a lack of time to gather the data, or a feeling of helplessness about how to get such information. However, the fact still remains that these numbers matter and they will make the difference between x and y. So while some business owners suggest that they can’t afford to measure their numbers, I always find myself asking, “Can you afford not to?”