Getting your business up and running is a unique and thrilling experience. The first 12 months in any entrepreneur’s journey are an incredibly steep learning curve and no matter how elaborate your cash flow projections, however comprehensive your business plan and however imaginative your marketing campaign, there’s really no way of adequately preparing yourself for immersion in your business’ daily operations. All entrepreneurs must walk a fine line. They must be on hand whenever their employees need them to provide help, advice and assurance just as they should always make themselves available to attend to the needs of customers. They must also, however, be able to take a step back to look at their business from a “big picture” perspective to ensure that their businesses are running as effectively, productively and profitably as possible. While many nascent entrepreneurs are comfortable with the former, most flounder somewhat when it comes to the latter.

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A big part of success in business is being able to track your progress in order to make the strategic decisions that will lead to the evolution and long-term sustainable growth of your business. How you do this is up to you, but if this is all new to you, here are some useful places to start looking…

Know your data

Ensuring that you collate and interrogate the right data is crucial to success in business. Throughout your daily operations, you’ll likely be gathering all sorts of quantitative and qualitative data but you may not necessarily know the best places to look to see if you’re on the fast track to success or on the precipice of a total collapse. Investing in data analysis specialists may be one more overhead to manage but it can help you to effectively parse the data you collect to make for more effective and strategic management. There are also effective software solutions to enable you to effectively manage your data to plan for success.

Master your metrics

Any blogger or entrepreneur for whom clicks mean revenue knows the importance of mastering the metrics of their content. Your metrics can tell you a great deal about the kinds of people who are interested in your business as well as how you can adapt your strategy to improve your conversion rate. Some metrics, however, are far more useful than others. Your reach (or click count), for example, is a hefty and reassuring metric, but there’s not an awful lot that can be done with it in terms of strategy. Just because a user has alighted on your content does not mean that they have engaged with it in a meaningful way. Scroll depth or engagement rates are far more useful. Likewise, social media shares may give you a warm, glowy feeling but they do not necessarily denote quality engagement. Comments and likes are far more helpful in this respect.

Keep an eye on your cash flow

Your cash flow will determine your ability to seize the opportunities that can lead to organic growth before they slip away into the arms of your competitors. Thus, you must keep a close eye on monies coming in and out of your business to ensure that your cash flow is healthy. Even a slight lapse in liquidity can result in a golden opportunity passing you by.

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