Hey Rainmaker, let me let you into my head a bit…
As you know, I’ve been working with a coach now for a bit, improving many areas of my business.
My selling systems…
How I’m prospecting…
But this next one could be my most important.
Have you heard the maxim, “Whatever gets tracked gets improved”?
I don’t know exactly where it started, but I’ve found it to be true over and over again in my life.
Like many, I’ve definitely found my weight harder to control since entering adulthood.
Within months after graduating from college — no longer walking around campus all day — and getting a 40-hour-per-week desk job, I gained 15 pounds.
Within the next few years, I’d added quite a few more.
Then, at my job at that IT training company, we decided to have a contest.
Each of us set a weight loss goal. This was a “healthy weight” we decided for ourselves.
Every week, if we were either moving closer to the goal or — having hit it — staying beneath it, we’d get free sushi on Tuesdays. (We could also use push-ups to earn back any sushi we missed due to moving farther away from our goal.)
So every week, we tracked our weight, and entered it into a contest spreadsheet.
Many of us (including me) did regular weigh-ins between the official weigh-in day, just to stay on top of where we were.
Along with tracking my weight, I tracked my calories, too.
I tracked everything I ate, with the goal of eating a little bit less than my body needed every day — so presumably my body would take energy from my fat reserves and reduce my weight.
I was so strict with my tracking, that at the end of the contest, I was the only person who’d earned sushi with my weigh-in every week.
I never lost an unhealthy amount of weight. Most weeks it was a pound or less. Some weeks I just stayed the same. Occasionally I’d lose up to 2 pounds in a week.
But this consistent tracking and effort toward a defined goal led me to drop and drop and drop… Until I hit my target weight.
Since that contest, I definitely have not tracked like I did then — and it shows in my weight!
I don’t necessarily believe in being obsessive about your weight (rather, you should focus on healthy choices), but this definitely showed me the power of tracking…
Here’s the thing…
The power of tracking important metrics as a path toward improvement applies in just about every area of your life!
For example, budgeting.
It’s well known that the way to get richer and richer is to save more than you consume.
If you can manage to stuff $1,000 per month into a mattress — not invest it, not make any income on it — every month over a 45-year career, you’ll have more than half a million dollars at the end of the career.
It’s not “retire rich” money, but it’s a lot more than many retirees have.
The only way that you can do this is by tracking what you earn, what you spend, and what you can save…
And committing yourself to saving it.
But when you start tracking, something interesting is likely to happen.
You probably won’t be happy with that $1,000 per month… Thinking that even just $100 more every month would make a very big difference.
And so you’ll start to think about ways you can save more. Either spending less, or earning more.
By tracking, you’ll give yourself motivation to improve.
Here’s what I’m working on next in my business…
I’m breaking down the major areas of my business, and looking at each as a separate profit center.
Each month, I’ll track the expenses I put in… And the income I get out.
The difference will be either a profit for that segment of my business, or a loss.
For certain aspects of my business, I’ll be looking at it on a more granular level.
For example, going beyond tracking overall advertising expense and sales, and breaking down each element such as cost per click, cost per lead, cost per sale, average first sale value, average customer lifetime value, and so on.
This is something I work with my clients on, but it’s definitely a case where because of the way my business was structured (and because I love being creative and not analytical), I haven’t focused on it as much in my business.
That’s all changing.
And I know some folks are going to look at this and say, “ROY, this is BUSINESS 101! WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU DOING BEFORE!?!?!” I know, I know.
But the nature of a consulting and copywriting business is that as long as my accountant had enough info for tax purposes… And as long as I was able to consistently pull the income I needed out of my business… I was good.
It’s only when it’s time to take it up a notch that I have to reassess the systems of my business and set them up in a way that supports that move.
And while I’ve done a personal budget for a while that’s tracked a lot of this info, I’ve definitely let my business go on too long without these systems in place there.
While this of course applies to any business, I think this is a critical lesson for copywriters, consultants, and other very small “solopreneur” businesses…
We often bootstrap in starting these businesses, and we can often build a pretty solid business without these foundations.
But the bigger we get — and the bigger we want to get — the more not having this foundation will hurt.
You can’t really do this too early, but you can definitely do it too late so that your business’s growth is not supported at a level that it needs to be.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets