I recently had a meeting with a builder in my community. We started to talk about the importance of numbers and metrics when running a profitable enterprise. He is a leader in his Industry having operated successful and meaningful construction businesses. I had shared with him my somewhat clumsy and crude business software, which was progressively built on an Access Platform, from 1994 through to 2012. It grew with my business as I learned or had the need to learn more. It was fed by the desire for business improvement.
The builder lit up; he had done the same thing. For each of us, after finding a staff member who had a knack for database structures, our respective journeys began as we exposed the often hidden details of our respective businesses. We had both learned what worked, understood the importance of metrics and translated this into healthier operations, improving growth and profits.
We both acknowledged that many firms make excuses for not monitoring their metrics. They are too busy; they simply don’t have time to monitor their numbers. This keeps them in the dark. Even firms that look incredibly successful from the outside, may not know their numbers, may not be aware of their inefficiencies nor the costs associated.
This builder was religious about tracking his operations. He understood there was ‘opportunity in the creases’, and he worked diligently to expose these. He paid attention from the first handshake, through the final sign-off, well into a long-term engagement which included referrals and ongoing service. Not only did this guide operations, but he was in a much better position to discuss any disconnects with his clients. He had a lot of detail to support his invoices and assure his customers.
If you are one of the firms that believe you are doing well, and do not need to track metrics, you may want to consider reading my article about Hidden Opportunities (Click Here)
After reading you should ask yourself this important question: “what can you do differently to maximize billable time”. Keeping in mind, of course, that labour is one of the most difficult areas to optimize, one of the areas that consumers typically undervalue and likely your largest single investment. It is also a differentiator and an opportunity to really own the customer.
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Marilyn Sanford is the co-founder and CEO of LincEdge.
In the past, she had co-founded and ran a custom install firm for 23 years.
You can find Marilyn on LinkedIn.