Break Out The Maps
June is the beginning of a new quarter, the start of a new season and a natural time to check in with yourself before the heat of summer really takes hold. Half a year has gone by! If you set some realistic business goals back in January, now’s a good time to reflect on how achieving them is going. And it’s ok if you gave up on them the third week in February like the rest of us - you still have 6 months this year to turn the ship around!
So what’s so important about tracking and measuring how things are going? Simply put, checking in regularly with yourself is one of the best-kept secrets towards achieving your goals. It’s ~almost~ a guarantee of success.
Tracking progress is the roadmap towards your end goal. You wouldn’t set off on a cross-country road trip without mapping out the pit stops along the way. You plan your route and then follow along as you go. If you get distracted by a roadside attraction or take a longer-than-planned detour, checking in with your map gets you right back on track towards your destination. It’s your way to know how many miles you’ve come and how far you have to go.
CHECKING IN REGULARLY WITH YOURSELF IS ONE OF THE BEST-KEPT SECRETS TOWARDS ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS.
I know there are some free spirits out there who will insist that there’s nothing better than setting off without a destination in mind, that there’s nothing like getting a little lost and discovering new, unplanned things. I couldn’t agree more. But do it on your own time. Feel free to float from point A to point B without a care in the world, but if you’re doing it on the clock (let’s be honest here) that makes you more of a hobbyist than a business person. Retired folks have the luxury of hopping in the RV and meandering up the coast without a plan. You are not those people. You are a business owner and if you are serious about it, you’ve got shit to do that can’t wait. You simply can’t afford to let yourself get lost in the woods right now.
Measuring your progress in business can be as complex or as simple as fits you. There’s plenty of info out there about different metrics or tools you can use to gauge how things are going. Spend some time learning and getting acquainted with the ones that matter most to you. Find a way to track them that you can easily work into your regular routine. I’m not here to tell you that what matters most is x% of visitors converting to y% of sales. To me, it doesn’t really matter if you saw a 10% increase in traffic or a 2% jump in leads. The numbers themselves aren’t what’s really important. What’s important is that you know them and that you track them.
What’s important is that you use the data, in whatever form makes the most sense to you, to fuel your drive to achieve your goals. If you’re not meeting some of your milestones, check in with yourself to find out why. It could be that your benchmarks were simply unrealistic (i.e. you set the waypoints on your road trip too far apart) or that you weren’t equipped to achieve them in the first place (i.e. you didn’t budget enough gas money to get to the next stop). In business, you’ll want to think in the same terms. Did I give myself and my team what they needed to get where I wanted them to go? Is where I wanted us to be by now something we could have realistically achieved?
THE NUMBERS THEMSELVES AREN'T WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT.
You’ll have to be willing to be honest with yourself if the answers to both those questions are yes and you’re still not where you wanted to be. It’s humbling but you’ve got to do it. Be open to discussing where things got off track, take the time to discover why and then make the proper adjustments. It’s ok if you’ve found yourself at the dead end of a dirt road. Just turn around and head back to the freeway.
It’s this level of awareness and commitment towards achieving your goals that will put you ahead of the pack. Some people end up lost and throw up their hands and just decide to camp out there and wait. But you’re going to break out the map and the compass and find your way. Because you are driven to succeed and unwilling to settle for only making it halfway. There are so many numbers and metrics and measurements to guide you. There are a thousand roads you can take to get there and your path may not be the same as someone else’s. What matters is that you’re forging ahead. It is only this tenacity that can’t really be measured. It’s difficult to put a hard number on the amount of determination you have. Stats can’t measure your hunger to succeed.