Using Your Living Business Plan: Measuring Results
- Executive summary
- Services and/or products offered
- Marketing plan
- Goals and objectives
This is all well and good but how do you know if your business plan is working?
Measure, measure, measure
Every small business has to produce results. If you cannot describe how much revenue is being generated or even what is generating this revenue, then what are you doing? Paying attention to even the most basic measurement system will tell you if the business is growing, stagnant or shrinking. Start with these three basic ones that you can use each quarter:
- Financial reports: This is possibly the easiest place to start since numbers are numbers. Start with a Profit and Loss Statement. Just seeing how the money is coming in (revenues) and going out (expenses). As I wrote in my post about Financials For Non-Money Business Owner, this is where you find out if the business is making a profit or posting a loss. If you don’t use any other financial report each quarter, the Profit and Loss Statement can be the snapshot that helps you assess how your business is performing.
- SWOT analysis: This analysis is a great tool for focusing your evaluation process. It breaks down into Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By knowing what your business does well, its downsides, potential places of growth and potential risks, you can assess if your goals and actions are on target.
- Self-awareness check: The other tool that helps with evaluating how your business is going is You. Noting your stress level, events in your personal life and your feelings about your business are a subjective measure. It may seem out of place but when a business owner enjoys or resents his/her business, this has a direct effect on how the business performs.
Measurements point to how you are making the business vision an everyday reality
I often ask my clients, “what do you want to accomplish this year?” It isn’t that your overall business vision is unimportant. Knowing where you want the business to ultimately end up is important. These are your dreams and they inspire you. But when you break it down, this vision is built quarter by quarter. Take the time to measure how things are going so you can celebrate, adapt or delete. Your business plan is an active document. Use it to your advantage!
What assessments or evaluations do you use for your small business?
Do you find one tool stands out more as most useful?
About the author: I’m Elli St.George Godfrey, a small business coach and trainer who guides established small business owners to be comfortable in their own skin. I have a deep appreciation for learning and understanding my client’s business style and culture. Whether you are expanding in your own backyard or into another country, my 3 keys coaching process helps clients move from being excited about a new business opportunity to having the tools to make it actually happen. Curious? Schedule your complimentary coaching session here.