Note: Huge thanks to Staples Quick Wins for making this post possible! The Staples Quick Wins app is a metrics-based dashboard that offers entrepreneurs personalized solutions to grow their business & a community of peers to talk about the specific metrics & ways to help each other grow.
I was just at Midway Airport in Chicago this morning. I was browsing the entrepreneur and business section of the bookstore in Terminal A and all I can say is wow. Dozens. Literally dozens of books on business tactics, strategies and ‘how to’s’ by today’s hottest gurus and figureheads.
Simply put, it was overwhelming.
It reminded me of the staggering number of things you need to pay attention to when building a business – key metrics, team assignments, workflow best practices, feedback loops, best practices for lean startup methodology, best networking practices, best social media practices, etc.
I’ve been doing this entrepreneurship thing for almost three years now and I still get overwhelmed with where to focus my energy. One expert says one thing, another says something completely different. Regardless of who you listen to, there will always be more metrics, ideas, strategies and items to pay attention to than what you can realistically handle as a small team or as a solopreneur.
However, over the years, I have come to understand what separates effective entrepreneurs/business leaders from those who are simply spinning their wheels and not being effective with their time relative to their business goals.
I have found that what sets those two groups apart is their ability to do two things.
1. condense data and feedback into one point of focus.
2. get feedback fast and act even faster.
Simplify things by condensing data.
I mentioned earlier that this post was sponsored by Staples. It’s exciting that such an influential brand like Staples would take interest in PRSUIT and what our dedicated audience cares about, so huge thank you to them. More important, though, is that Staples apparently agrees with point #1 above as they have created something for entrepreneurs and business owners to do just that. It’s is a dashboard and mobile app called Quick Wins and it has helped PRSUIT by syncing all of our metrics into one platform. If you’re a blogger or are building any digital-based business you know what I’m talking about – Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Quickbooks, etc… so many logins, so little time.
What Quick Wins does to help is they have developed a platform that pulls in all of those metrics into one place.
One login and I can view all of these metrics. This is really important for us at PRSUIT as we really care about traffic and what is happening on our social media accounts as well as revenue for sponsorships, etc. These metrics are all tracked daily in place via this app.
Having a platform like this at your fingertips truly allows you to see the bigger picture – something that is essential for any entrepreneur or business owner. It enables you to see the holistic impact of your business’s metrics rather than the ‘on-the-ground’ view of each individual data point. This is a pitfall I have seen many entrepreneurs fall into – spending countless hours on one data point only to discover that when compared to the rest of their data, it is inconsequential or having little impact.
Let’s remember the 80/20 rule here folks – roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It’s up to you to set yourself up to understand the data from your business and discover the 20% and then focus your efforts there.
Being able to see the entirety of your metrics in one place allows you to do that. I really like Quick Wins but feel free to develop your own and consult your fellow entrepreneurs for what works best for them.
Community and feedback.
Being able to understand data and make logical and actionable decisions based on it is essential to growth. But it doesn’t stop there.
The second ingredient for entrepreneurial success is community.
We developed our own community based on this very idea. Having an immediate feedback loop and input for motivation and new ideas is essential for growth. Being able to do it alongside people who are measuring similar data points and business goals will give you a leg up and enable you to act fast.
Quick Wins also has a great related function called Business Ideas where, based on your metrics, you receive a recommended set of ideas to grow your metric further. These ideas include curated content to support the idea and bring it to life. These ideas are curated from the robust community Staples has created where members recommend ideas to each other, ask questions and support each other in the growth of their key metrics. This is not a general community as all conversation are specifically tied to the metrics.
Pretty cool stuff.
My advice to you is this:
Avoid decision paralysis at all costs. Doing so will enable you to act quickly, learn even quicker and grow your business or creative endeavor.
The key to doing that is to understand all of your metrics in one place – understand how they are impacting each other and understand which ones are actually moving your business forward. It won’t be all of them, so having them all in one place will enable you to see which ones are worth your focus and which ones are not.
When I first started PRSUIT, I was overwhelmed with the amount of metrics I was told I needed to pay attention to – website traffic, SEO rankings, press, backlinks, subscriber numbers, social followings, article shares, the list goes on and on. As a result, I spun around in circles for several months as I worked on each metric one at a time. It was only after I aggregated all of my data into one place (manually at that time into a spreadsheet) that I realized there were only a couple of metrics that were actually moving PRSUIT forward (namely email subscribers). Once I realized this, I was able to focus my energies on that metric alone.
Once you understand what metric is valuable for you like I did in the above example, it’s time to embrace community. You will not grow in a vacuum. I thought I could for a long time until I saw the massive impact that surrounding yourself in a community can have (something as simple as a private Facebook group or via an app like Quick Wins).
I would love to hear what practices you use to learn fast and act faster. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org