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Measure what’s important to your business

WEB DESIGN

Published: 

When you're building and running a business, choosing the right metrics is key to understanding how things are going. But with so many potential data sources, what's the best way to understand what’s going on under the hood?

AUTHOR

Simon Moore

Co-founder @ Pixel Together


Saturday 25th September 2021

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Finances

'Make sure that you’re consistently interpreting your information to understand your business position correctly.'

Unsurprisingly, whether you’re earning money is a key indicator of how things are going. This means being across your income and cash flow- and knowing that these aren’t the same thing. There are a number of ways you can stay across your financial position and you may want to use these in combination. For example, an accounting platform like Xero or MYOB can be connected to bank account feeds so that you can see your financial information in one place. In addition to using a platform, you may wish to work with a professional like a bookkeeper or accountant to make sure that you’re consistently interpreting your information to understand your business position correctly.

As the owner of a website builder, it’s tempting to suggest that the metrics you need should be centered around your online performance. It’s true that for eCommerce businesses who are selling directly online or for people using their site as a key referral driver for new customers, your website metrics are really important but even so, zooming out to take a holistic view is the most important thing you can do.

Image Credit: John Schnobrich

'Whether you use a survey, a phone call or collection modules, make the time to understand and reflect on the results'

Customer feedback

Whether you have customers or clients, listening to their feedback is a really important way to understand how things are going. You might like to collect feedback directly when you’re on a call or in a meeting, or send a survey after a job or task is complete. Or you can add feedback modules to your order and fulfillment emails to prompt your customers to share their thoughts.
 
Whether you use a survey, a phone call or collection modules, make the time to understand and reflect on the results. Some of the feedback might highlight small tweaks you can make to improve the user experience, some of it might be more difficult to resolve. Either way, it’s essential to commit to addressing the insights that you receive. Over time, you can see where you’re receiving complaints or positive feedback and chart this to see how your business is progressing.
 
Learn how we used user research to inform the PixelTogether site update

Your website will probably be your key digital platform, and so it’s generally important to know what’s going on with your site traffic. Typical traffic data includes number of page views, visits and unique visits, for example. Each can provide you with different information about your business. To make sure that you are taking seasonal spikes and lulls into account, looking at your data year-on-year can be the best way to check that your growth is headed in the right direction.

Outside of your website, you may be running digital marketing campaigns to attract clients or customers. When you’re advertising on social media, doing Search Engine Marketing, running affiliate campaigns or using offer codes, you want to keep an eye on which of your channels is the most effective. When you’re using website links, you can apply UTM tags to see your source information reflected inside Google Analytics. We love this handy guide to using UTM tags, put together by Buffer.

User traffic sources

Referral sources

When you get a direct referral, understanding where it's come from is the first step to getting more of them! Whether it’s traffic on your site or customers contacting you, take the time to figure out how they found you. Digital sources are things like social media, email or your site. If someone gets in touch directly, it’s totally fine to ask them how they heard about your business. This could be an automated email.

And when you find that someone is sending new customers or clients your way, don’t forget to recognise their efforts. A gift card, a bunch of flowers or a simple thank you message goes a long way towards letting them know that they are appreciated. Nurture those lead generators!

'You don’t have to enjoy every element all the time, but overall, you should feel motivated to work on your business and excited by the process.'

Your satisfaction

A measure that business owners don’t often talk about enough is how things are going for you personally. How much are you enjoying running your business? After all, going out on your own usually means some extra stress and additional work. In return, your business should be at least somewhat fulfilling on a personal and professional level. You don’t have to enjoy every element all the time, but overall, you should feel motivated to work on your business and excited by the process.

If this isn’t happening for you, it’s a good idea to check in with an expert. Using a business coach or meeting with a mentor can help to identify areas you need to address. Perhaps there are places where you need some professional development or upskilling. And possibly there are areas where someone else could step in and do a job that you’re grappling with. When it comes to finding a coach or mentor, within Australia it’s a great idea to see what programmes your state government or local council offers.

Setting your business goals

As you explore the areas that your business will measure, it’s crucial to understand how your goals will influence your values. Whatever your business chooses as key metrics will be the things that you talk about and concentrate on. Inevitably, they will shape the culture of your business, and yes, even a one person business has a business culture. Try to consider the different parts of your business together, and set goals and address metrics that deliver a better business for your customers and for you.

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AUTHOR

Published: 

Saturday 25th September 2021

Co-founder @ Pixel Together

Simon Moore

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