Jan 12 , 2016
My legs were on FIRE, but I had to keep pushing through the pain.
Just one more run, I thought. Then, I’ll call it a day.
I didn’t even necessarily want to keep snowboarding either. I’d been riding all day in knee deep powder while weaving through the trees, and any skier or snowboarder knows how fast that will wear you out.
But, there was one thing fueling my motivation. I had to beat my high score.
No, I wasn’t in a competition. Nobody was sitting there timing me or adding up points.
The truth is much less exciting. I had just downloaded an app for my phone designed to track how many vertical feet I snowboarded each day, and I wanted to beat my existing daily record.
I wasn’t going to win a prize, become famous, or even get a pat on the back.
I was pushing myself simply so I could look at a high score on my iPhone app when I was finished.
This may sound pointless, but that’s why it’s the perfect story to illustrate the power of quantified results.
What Gets Measured Get’s Improved
Let that sink in for a second: What gets measured gets improved.
I’ve noticed this same phenomenon throughout my life and entrepreneurial journey.
When I first started my handyman business, I tracked everything. I tracked how many hours I worked, the sources of my leads, how much I made per hour, and of course my monthly income and expenses.
As a result, I went from charging just $25/hr to averaging $55/hr within the first year, and my rates continued to climb from there.
As time went on, my business became more profitable while I actually scaled back my hours and worked less.
How did I do it?
Basically, I was measuring the right things, and I was doing it consistently.
Since I knew which marketing methods were working, I dropped the duds. Since I knew how much money I was making per hour, I strategized on how to move the needle upward.
Since I could clearly see how much time was wasted by inefficiencies, I experimented with new processes to reduce them.
Some things worked, some didn’t. But, the important thing is that I had the feedback I needed to decide which was which.
Sure, had I not measured these metrics, I still would have grown my business. But, not nearly as fast or as effectively. I wouldn’t have been able to make smart business decisions like when I stopped offering free quotes.
Why Does This Work?
Clear, Concrete Feedback
When you have objective, clear, and concrete feedback that isn’t swayed by your perception, you can make smart decisions. You can cut the fat because you can actually see it.
Sometimes trying to beat your previous best score can be that small kick you need to work just one more hour, answer your phone one second faster, or put one more ounce of effort into giving the customer a great experience.
There’s not doubt that I had extra motivation to grow my business when I looked at the numbers, especially since I was sharing those numbers on this blog. I can vividly remember pushing myself every day just so I could put up good numbers at the end of the month.
Inspires Quality Questions
The results you achieve are largely influenced by the quality of your questions. When you are measuring something and trying to improve it, this naturally inspires the question “How can this be improved?”
Even though this seems like an obvious question to ask, it’s surprising how often it’s not. Many people are stuck focusing on how bad their situation is instead of figuring out how to improve it. Or, they are so caught up in the day to day that they never have time to ask good questions.
What Should You Measure?
That depends on what you are trying to improve or achieve.
Maybe your trying to increase your income. Maybe it’s the amount of leads you generate each week. Or, maybe you are just trying to get started in business and want to speed up the process.
Once you know what you’d like to to improve, brainstorm ideas on what you can start measuring that will naturally guide you toward the result you seek.
For example, if I wanted to increase my profit and decrease hours worked, I’d start measuring the time and profit for each individual job so I could calculate my hourly rate.
But, sometimes things aren’t so cut and dry.
Let’s say I was just starting a business while working a full time job and I was struggling to find time to work on my business. In this scenario, I would start tracking how many hours I worked each week, because at this point, that is what will likely influence my results most.
Or, here’s another example.
Let’s say I wanted to improve the relationship with my wife. That’s hard to measure. So, I’d need to look at things that influence the relationship. I could measure how many nice things I say for example. Or, I could start tracking how many times I make her smile. Increasing the number of either of these will likely improve the relationship.
The important thing is that you are measuring the right things, because you won’t get results if what you measure doesn’t align with your goals.
There’s no doubt that tracking the right metrics in my business has had a large impact on my success as a handyman.
If it works for me, and pretty much every business you’ve ever heard of, it can work for you, too.
As long as you are measuring the right things and checking in consistently, you’ll have the insights you need to make quality decisions that will lead your to your goals faster.
So…if what you’ve been trying hasn’t worked so far, maybe it’s time to stop making resolutions and start taking measurements.