How to grow what you water in your business

It’s February in Oregon, which means two things:

  1. I’m starting to plan out my raised garden beds for the year
  2. Cold weather has (finally) shown up in this unseasonably warm winter, with temperatures dropping below freezing for the next few days

As I think about growing my Jasmine (and other fragrant plants and vines), this quote from management guru Peter Drucker has been on my mind:

“[only] what gets measured, gets managed.”

When it comes to managing (and growing) my garden, I like to track a few things to make sure I’m putting in the time and heading in the right direction:

  • Photos of the plants in my garden
  • How often I’m watering and fertilizing my plants
  • How much time I’m spending in my garden working on projects

Are these all of the garden KPIs you could track? No, far from it; tracking these helps me track my involvement in the garden and make sure I’m putting in the time and work.

Likewise, suppose you’re looking to manage your leads’ quality and quantity over the coming months.

In that case, one of the most impactful steps you can take is to start measuring and tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your marketing, growth, and sales. That will help you judge how your marketing funnels are performing and see the impact of your work.

Which KPIs should you track? That can depend very much on the shape, form, and context of your business.

For me, I like starting small with an initial list and growing it over time. You can start with something like:

  • Website Visitors (Traffic)
  • Email Opt-Ins (Raw numbers, conversion rates)
  • Lead inquiries (emails, form submissions, calls)

The goal here is to have a general idea of your funnel’s shape, form, and performance (i.e., visitors turn into email opt-ins who turn into leads).

Is it perfect? Is this everything you could track? No. But it’s good enough to get started.

My advice? Start small and simple with your tracking.

  • Create a spreadsheet (in Google Docs or Excel)
  • Start tracking a few (~2-3) metrics or KPIs and updating them weekly

As you think of new things to track, you can add them into your spreadsheet, start tracking them, and see if they help you manage your growth.

I like capturing new information into this KPI Spreadsheet once per week. Tracking these KPIs monthly is fine, but that slower cadence impacts this information’s usefulness. When you update your Growth KPI Spreadsheet weekly, you’re closer to the numbers, and you can more easily observe, orient, decide, and act on the information.

Excelsior!

Kai

I write a high-quality, daily newsletter about marketing, growth, and lead generation for indie consultants, freelancers, and service professionals.

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