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The Story Behind Your Metrics

Lines out the door. An email list that is growing at breakneck speed. Dozens of five star reviews on Yelp. More users, subscribers or members all adding to the value of your platform.
These are the stuff entrepreneurial dreams are made of.

Measuring growth and how it happens feels important. But ‘more’ isn’t the only metric of a good business, and it’s not the only thing that defines success.

There is usually a way to find data that supports a worldview and nobody is immune to using data to confirm previously held assumptions. Qualitative data measures the things that align with the values we care about, those we want our employees to embrace and our customers to sense. When we measure in this way we take into account the story behind the data. The number of meals sent back to the kitchen, staff retention, customer referrals and on and on.

Questions that will set you on the path to measuring what matters

1. How do you track how business is doing? Make a list of everything you measure.
2. Which numbers do you want to go up? Why?
3. Which numbers need to go down? Why?
4. Why are each of these particular metrics important? Create a rationale for each one.
5. What story do the numbers tell you about how your customers and colleagues feel?
6. What story do you want them to tell?

It’s tempting to want to scale, that’s what businesses do after all. As you grow it’s equally important to understand what metrics are sacred and why they matter.

Image by Gwenael Piaser.

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