Metrics that matter

When it comes to building your business, most entrepreneurs are aware that ‘what gets measured, gets improved’. We understand that in order to grow, we need a strategy and in order to ensure we’re on the right path, we need to track our progress.

But here comes the tricky part. What is it exactly that we’re tracking? And how are we supposed to decide on those metrics?

For those of us who have, at some stage in our careers, escaped from a corporate workspace, tracking can bring about a cold sweat. I think back to when I was working in government and pulled into what seemed like daily meetings to discuss KPI’s, team goals & statistics. Ughhh it’s enough to make you want to run away (oh, that’s right, I did).

But here’s the thing, tracking is important. Setting goals is a smart way to sustain growth in your business.

A while back I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts, and they started talking about metrics. I remember thinking ‘huh, this will be interesting…’. By the end of the show, I was actually kinda geeking out about metrics. I read a bunch of posts about it, asked some of my business mentors & really delved into which metrics matter and which don’t.

Here’s what I learnt:

There’s a term used in the tech world called ‘Vanity Metrics’ and unfortunately, way too many of us become totally focused/obsessed with the wrong stats. Vanity Metrics are those things that make us look good and sometimes feel good, but that has no real meaning when it comes to your business growth. Let me give you some examples: Followers on social media, list size, web traffic… they’re all important and worthwhile figures, but they don’t necessarily have an impact on your bottom line. You can have an email list of 5000 subscribers who rarely open your emails, resonate with your work or invest in your product/services. Alternatively, you may have a list of 500 super engaged followers who love what you do, share it with friends & are excited to buy whatever it is you have to sell. Which would you rather?

Same goes with the numbers of likes/follows on social media. I know plenty of people who have a decent sized following but aren’t actually making any money.

So what should we be tracking? For me, it comes down to three simple elements :

Increased brand awareness, my clients being stoked & me being stoked.

Let me show you how I break that down into tangible metrics.

Increased brand awareness :

Engagement from followers — Replies to newsletters, people engaging in social, building relationships & really getting to know my tribe.

The consistent stream of new conversations around my work — This may be from people who want to work with me or people who want to me to collaborate with them. Most importantly, this is about tracking conversion rates in these conversations.

Becoming known for what I do — Consistent stream of interesting, diverse & profitable opportunities to do more freelance brand strategy work.

Clients being stoked :

The results they get as a direct impact of the work we’ve done together — Increased sales, more traction, more PR, brand clarity, business growth and of course, them feeling confident, happy & excited about their work.

Referrals from existing/old clients — These are the very best referrals — handpicked by people who know the Super Stoked Method inside out, and therefore know when it’s a great fit for a friend. From a sales perspective, these are the referrals that flow — meaning, there’s really no selling involved.

The feedback I get from clients about our work together — To me, this proves something super important to me — That clients enjoy the process. This normally comes in the form of an over-excited email with the subject line ‘A-ha moment !!!!” or an awesome first 5 minutes of our call whilst they fill me in on all the rad stuff that has been happening.

Me being stoked :

The bottom line — Making a good living. Writing my own rules & running my business in a way that feels good & affords me the lifestyle I’ve chosen (location independent, hungry for surf & adventure but being able to enjoy simple luxuries & have roots at home).

Purpose & flow — Loving the process. Enjoying the work I do, knowing it’s having a positive impact & working in a way that aligns with my super conditions. Balancing hustle and drive with grace & presence.

Growth — Both in business terms and also personal growth. I’m always learning. I want to keep getting better at what I do, so I want opportunities to stretch myself, get out of my comfort zone & keep deepening my knowledge.

So I’m flipping the question back to you. What metrics are you tracking in your business? Are you tracking them because someone else told you to? And if so, what really matters to you? What will actually make a difference?