Are you ready to take your online business to the next level and watch some explosive growth unfold over the coming months? Great! Before you start to plot and plan what you want to do to make that happen, it’s important to stop and look at where you are right now.
Business planning for future success is all about data. You can work most efficiently and spend your time and money most effectively if you know exactly where you are starting from.
Lesson 2: You Have To Know Where You’re At Right Now To Measure Growth & Figure Out What You Should Be Working On
By recording data, you can start to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends are starting to play out. And it all starts with recording where you’re at right now.
First though, you should decide how you want to record this information. You can write it down by hand in a notebook, open up a word document to do it digitally, or use a spreadsheet. I prefer a spreadsheet because I have the option to have it calculate fun additional information, like weekly and monthly averages and even map it all out in graphics to help me get a clearer picture.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the things you want to record.
To grow you need to expand your reach. That means getting more traffic, but also engaging the people that come to your site by encouraging them to click around and read more. Good things to keep track of are
- total visitors
- unique visitors
- bounce rate, and
- where the traffic is coming from.
For example, is your traffic organic, or is it coming from specific social media platforms? Perhaps it’s coming from a different referral source, such as a link from another website. If you’re not already using a specific tool to capture this data, Google Analytics can give you a good snapshot of this info.
Look at where your visitors are clicking; heat maps like Crazy Egg are useful for this. Are they lingering on some pages, and bypassing others? Which pages are getting the most action? This will help you to see which pages are working for you.
2. List / Subscribers
Your next goal is always to get these visitors on your list. Here you want to track total number of
- conversion rates for each of your opt-in forms and pages,
- open rates for your emails, and
As you start to collect and review this data regularly, you’ll get a better picture of your subscribers.
Subscribers are great, customers are better. Start by keeping track of how many total customers you have and how many purchases per day, week, and month. Other good numbers to look at are total lifetime value of your average customer, repeat purchases, and refund rates.
4. Income & Expenses
Last but not least, look at your bottom line. This is your typical accounting data. You want to keep track of your income as well as your expenses. With those two sets of numbers, you can easily calculate your overall profit. I find it helpful to look at profit for the month, but track income on a daily basis.
Yes, you can look at most of this data in various different places like Google Analytics, your shopping cart, and your autoresponder service. However, it’s important to have it all in one place. This makes it much easier to connect the dots and see the relationships between the different sets of numbers.
Now that you have your initial data collection set up, make it a habit to update the numbers regularly so you can see what’s working, what isn’t, and how much you’re growing as you move through the coming months and years.
The 7 Days of Biz Planning to Rock Your Year Mini Challenge is a free, 7-day series for entrepreneurs that can be started at any time. Register and each day you’ll get an email from me with tip or a strategy designed to help you make plans for growing your business. We’re not talking fluff-n-stuff here. These are hands-on, actionable tips and strategies you can use every day to embrace planning, set ambitious goals, and then work towards reaching them. Click here to sign up for the full challenge.