The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.
With Memorial Day fast approaching, June weddings will be upon us, and the Fourth of July will quickly follow. It’s already almost mid-year!
Think back to New Year’s Day – that’s the time when you made business resolutions and built your goals for 2015. I strongly suggest you start to re-adjust your annual goals by midyear, if not quarterly, to better reflect your current status.
The longer you’ve been in operation, the further back you can make comparisons. Circumstances change; expansion, relocation, adding employees, setbacks, natural disasters, and more could all affect your business’ performance thus far this year. That’s all true, but what one should be looking for is consistent profitability and growth, month after month, year after year.
Let’s start with keeping score
Perhaps the first question that needs asking is: Are you effectively tracking leads, appointments, sales, closing rates, reviews, and other activities? Are you applying the most complete and efficient systems to learn the outcomes? If your overall measure of success is profitability, you have to know what’s working and what’s not.
Whether the results are better, in decline, or about the same, the next question should be, “Why?” What changed in your given time period that caused the difference (or lack thereof) in results? Write down the major milestones or events that may have caused an increase or decrease in your metrics.
Measure quantitative AND qualitative metrics
While comparing all the numbers seems like the obvious way to measure success or failure, there are a number of qualitative metrics you can also examine, including:
- Customer feedback, testimonials and online reviews. If watched closely, feedback in the form of reviews or testimonials will tell volumes about the strengths and weaknesses of your systems, training, communication, and service. No company is perfect, but you should be working on continuous, incremental improvement, and elimination of avoidable mistakes. All the training in the world will not eliminate miscues or complaints, but it will minimize them.
- Employee happiness and retention. When was the last time you gave a true employee evaluation? Did you ask about their personal/career aspirations, and how they might grow with the company? Understand the individual person’s point of view, and passion. Play to their strengths and away from their weakness. A happy employee is more likely to be a great representation of your brand than an unhappy employee!
- Marketplace sentiment. Is there fresh competition in your market? Do you need to be adding new and interesting products or services? While some of this information can be tracked through hard numbers (in leads, bookings, and reviews), it’s also important to keep a finger on the pulse of any rumblings in your area. Are other local businesses noticing any patterns? Much of this information can be learned anecdotally, so always keep your ears open.
Don’t forget to evaluate your processes
Your business’ success is not just time on the calendar – it can also be affected by the technologies you use to run your business. As smartphones, tablets, and computers become more complex, it’s necessary to remain up-to-date on the latest platforms that will help your business run efficiently.
When evaluating your progress, don’t forget to evaluate your day-to-day processes to see if there’s room for improvement. If your office computer is running slowly or one of the programs you use daily is no longer functioning at the level you need, consider new platforms or devices that could alleviate these issues. What may seem like a few minutes here and there could potentially add up to hours of lost time.
It’s only midyear, but some of the items discussed in this post may open your eyes to a new perspective, or alert you to trouble ahead. If you measure the past and live in the present, your business is on the right path to a bright future.