A good friend of mine, Boom San Agustin, blogged about the essentials of entrepreneurship awhile back. Boom listed the 10 things most essential to be successful in setting up and running your own business.
This inspired me to put an analytics spin on each of the 10 points, showing how you can use data to augment each point.
Have a passion for what you do. One way to measure how much of your time you are devoting to your passion is to set a schedule and track how much time is devoted to everything you do each day. If you are happy with the % spent on passion projects then you are doing the right thing. But if too much of your time is spent on things you don’t like doing, then you need to make some changes.
Pursue excellence first, money second. Here you need to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. You need a clear idea of what excellence in your chosen business looks like. How can you measure excellence with your products, your service, your team’s performance, and engagement? Putting some key metrics in place will allow you to make more informed decisions.
Be open and honest with others and yourself. Get feedback. See what % of your client, customer, partner, team member, interactions are honest and endure honesty in others. Come up with a way to measure the trustworthiness of what you do.
Have a “can-do” attitude. Keep a project list of all the things you need to accomplish. Update it every day. Be able to show yourself and others your progress towards getting things done. This will ensure that people see the work behind the words.
Be the leader your team needs. Devote significant amounts of your time to your team. Keep them informed by blogging. Build tools for communication like newsletters. Be visible in person and in social media. Track the frequency of your engagements and correlate them to employee satisfaction surveys.
Learn to communicate well. Get in front of an audience whenever possible. Engage the audience. Ask for feedback. Identify challenges and opportunities and then follow up. If your team doesn’t know what is going on in your head, then it is a problem. Gathering data on your communication strengths and weaknesses is key.
Be a teacher and a learner. Facilitate as much on-site training as possible. Get involved in it. Train people yourself in areas you are good at. And then sit and listen to other experts in areas you are not. Track the time put into training and come up with a cost justification. It's easy to cut training when times are tough because its hard to assign a value to it. Make this a priority now so you always know the value of training in your business.
Have your ear to the ground. Stay engaged in person and on social media. Keep updated on trends affecting your business and your employees. Use a social media tool like Hootsuite to manage your social media messaging to get feedback all in one place. Lots of data points can be created and tracked to measure how close you are to the pulse of your business.
Be dynamic and open to change. Set a check-in schedule. Encourage one on ones and team meetings that are not just one-sided but empower sharing. If you are open-minded and listen, you will be able to make changes to your business that keep things on the cutting edge. Use a timeline to show where you have been, where you are and project out where you are going.
Know when to quit. We all fail. Businesses will all fail at some point. Winners know when its time to fail and walk away to do something else. Losers stay the course until they go down with the ship. Figure out what is the most important metric in your business. Sales, profit, engagement, risk potential… whatever it is. Figure out what is the lowest acceptable number, once you get close to it, be prepare an exit plan. If you pass it, face facts and pull the plug. Always have that data point at your fingertips. If you are able to build in analytics like these, you will be able to manage your business well. You will set a tone among the leadership that uses data, not just the gut, to make decisions. One of your first hires should be a data guy who can build a business dashboard and deliver impactful reports. Someone who can help you identify risks and rewards and keep your focus on the metrics that matter most.