Find one thing to measure

After the last two postings, I found another revelant article in the September issue of Inc. Columnist Norm Brodsky says it is important to find one thing that you can measure to take your business’ blood pressure.

I believe every business has magic numbers. A restaurant owner I know can predict his evening’s receipts by the length of time customers have to wait for a table at 8:30pm. My friend Jack Stack, the father of open-book management, told me about a guy with a gear-making company who can determine his sales from the weight of the gears that have been shipped. Not the dollars. Not the orders. Not the number or types of gears. The weight.

I find myself measuring more things at our business. In the past, we looked at the sales number at month-end to see if we are doing well. We now track the number of quotes we do every week as a leading indicator and the amount of orders taken each week as health indicator. I am not sure either of those is our magic number, because of the varying timeframe for a quote to turn into an order and an order to turn into a sale.