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Know your Numbers!

Day - wise Site visitors

Shown above is the statistics of daily visits to my blog. I have intentionally blanked out the numbers because we are not discussing traffic to my blog.

Businessmen, Politicians, Sportspersons and professionals of every other hue live and die by stats – don’t they say that there are lies, damned lies and then statistics.

But jokes apart there is a need to get a grip of the critical numbers that define your business. We compare performance of sports stars or their teams by scores and records. Businessmen keep tab on the quality of their businesses by revenues, profits and customer-base. Politicians assess their performance through indices pertaining to their portfolio and the results of opinion polls.

For Sales Professionals some of the defining numbers would be:

–         Revenue / revenue per order / revenue per customer

–         Top customers by revenue or number

–         Percentage achievement of annual quota / target

–         Product – wise or Business – wise achievement

–         Churn number (loss of customers)

–         Customer Satisfaction Index

–         Number of complaints per 100 customers / per month / per 100 orders

–         Number of Prospects – Hot / Warm / Cold

–         Turn-around time for orders / complaints

–         Customers per outlet / territory

–         Calls completed per day

–         Orders booked per day / per invoice

There are many more and not all may be relevant to your business. It is not enough that you know these terms but it is important that they are tracked correctly and regularly.

When you capture the number for sufficiently long period trends emerge and you can use them to predict results and to plan further action.

Take the example of the data for my website – I have been writing regularly (one article a day) for 28 days, today included. I am thankful for those fabulous skyscrapers on the graph – those are the good days, the days I had most visits.

But there are days of slump too – it is too early to say whether the rise or fall is on account of the content. But after 2 or 3 months of writing I will definitely be able to say whether I am doing a fair job or not, because by then the readers have had sufficient time to judge the quality of my work and hopefully by then there would be regular readership and a few referrals by them to others – which leads to an increase in readership. The graph would indicate that change!

The challenge for me is to keep writing stuff that is valued by the visitors – content that benefits them!

Another pattern you will notice is that there is a repeated rise and fall pattern – note that readership is low on Monday and it increases in the 2nd half of the week to dip again on weekends. (The light blue shading indicates weekend) There are also huge drops on holidays (Christmas, the day after that and for New Year’s).

If you analyze the numbers associated with your business you should be able to spot trends, patterns – which then should ring alarm bells or klaxons of joy!

A good manager remembers his key numbers all the time and lives by it.

In my case even if this pattern of rise and fall are replicated if the lows and highs of the subsequent weeks are higher than the previous ones then I am on a good wicket. My work is being appreciated!

You can be made or broken by numbers … watch the numbers closely

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