How to Measure Small Business Success

Launching and growing a small business isn’t nearly as carefree as glossy magazine centerspreads make people believe. It’s tough, gritty, thankless work that takes years of time and dedication. And with all of the sweat equity you invest, it’s nice to know if it’s working. But do you know how to measure your company’s success?

5 Tips for Measuring Business Success

There’s a reason serial entrepreneurs can’t get enough of new ventures. It’s because, no matter how much two business might look similar on the surface, a simple peak behind the curtain shows just how unique they truly are. This pursuit of unique experiences gets them excited. 

The fact that your business is unique in its own right comes with both pros and cons. One of the biggest challenges involves how you measure success. Because what matters to one company might not matter so much to you (and vice versa).

While you’ll ultimately have to be the judge of what you gauge success on, here are some helpful processes, techniques, and frameworks you can utilize to gain a clearer picture: 

1.Set Smarter Goals

You can’t define success if you don’t have a way to analyze it. While you probably already have some business goals, are they specific enough to be measured?

Measurable goals provide a barometer for analyzing success in an ongoing fashion. You can check in on your goals on an ongoing basis and see exactly where things stand. 

2. Use a KPI Dashboard

Gathering data is no longer a problem. You have access to more data than you can ever dream of using. The bigger challenge is understanding how to collate and interpret the data for meaningful insights into how the business is doing.

KPI dashboards are the answer. Also known as key performance indicator dashboards, these management tools provide a real-time, birds-eye view of business performance – on both an operational and strategic level. You simply plug in the data source, establish your KPIs, and track the data. And because they’re visual and interactive, KPI dashboards are easy and enjoyable to work with. 

3. Gather Customer Feedback

You might think that customers would willingly provide unsolicited feedback to your business. However, research shows they don’t always speak up.

“Unless the experience is really bad, customers usually don’t bother to share feedback about an experience that didn’t meet their expectations,” OptiMonk explains. “Instead, they decide never to do business with the service provider again. That’s a high price to pay for lost feedback. The lost customer is not the only casualty. Studies have shown that each dissatisfied customer typically shares the unsatisfactory experience with 8 to 10 (sometimes even 20) others.”

If you want to know how your customers view your business – which is the ultimate indicator of long-term success – you have to go on the offensive. Through a combination of surveys, feedback forms, polls, social media interactions, customer calls, and client emails, you should be able to get a pulse. It won’t all be good feedback, but it will be helpful. 

4. Gather Employee Feedback

Likewise, it’s helpful to seek out employee feedback. Aside from your anonymous surveys and annual evaluations, make it a point to have one-on-one meetings with key employees on a regular basis. This sort of personal interaction is more likely to yield powerful and transparent insights on the health of the business.

5. Leverage Social Listening

Going out and gathering customer feedback and employee insights can be time-consuming. Sometimes you need strategies that allow you to passively measure what’s going in and around your business. Social listening is one option. 

Social listening involves monitoring social media channels for specific mentions of your brand, your products, your competitors, and other related content keywords – and then analyzing what this information means for your business moving forward.

According to Hootsuite, “Social listening looks beyond the numbers to consider the mood behind those social media posts. This helps you understand how people actually feel about you and your competitors, rather than simply counting the number of times your name comes up.”

Over time, social listening allows you to measure the overall sentiment of your brand and how you’re performing in the marketplace. A failure to implement social listening in 2020 is a failure to understand how your business is actually doing. 

Enhance Your Business Visibility

It pays to know what’s happening beneath the surface. Once you have a clear picture of what success means to your business – as well as how to measure it – your potential for growth increases substantially. 

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get clear on this all-important aspect of managing and leading your business.