If someone asked you what your business needs today to be successful tomorrow, how would you answer them? What data would you consult for answers?
It’s an important question because you need to truly understand your company’s needs to achieve your goals. The trouble is that sometimes those needs aren’t obvious. Some internal digging may be required.
Together, let's simplify with a four-step process.
An objective is distinct from a goal. Forbes defines an objective as an actionable item you check off as you move toward a larger goal.
Perhaps you have a consulting firm or a digital agency and your goal is to increase revenue by $30,000 next quarter. To be effective, you’ll need to set up milestones, or objectives, that help you get there. It might mean replacing a few of your most critical workflows to increase efficiency or upselling your most loyal clients to reduce the pressure to bring in new business.
Data is key in understanding which objectives will be most impactful. Moreover, real-time data will be a better source of reliable fuel for your decisions than historical, outdated reports.
While this is the natural next step in getting answers about where things are lacking, it’s often the hardest part. Start by reviewing the workflows that drive your operations. Identify bottlenecks, redundant steps or inefficiencies that may be hindering your business.
Then, use analytics tools to dive deep into your metrics and KPI performance, looking for patterns, gaps or opportunities that can guide your strategies. Getting your hands on the data you need to make decisions with confidence is difficult when all your work is scattered between different spreadsheets and tools that don’t talk to each other. You may want to think about consolidating with a single platform that can make it simpler to follow the story of your data throughout the entire client journey.
Once you have insights, share them with the people who can use them to propel your business forward. Encourage open discussions, which can lead to further innovative solutions that may not have been obvious initially. Everyone from sales to customer support might have valuable insight or a fresh analysis of the data you've uncovered.
With your leadership team, explore questions like: “How does our revenue line up with how many billable hours we're logging?” or “Could bad habits in how the team communicates be responsible for low utilization?” Considering these can help you figure out the why and develop new solutions and how they fit into the bigger picture.
Now that you've analyzed your data and shared the results with your team, the next step is to create a detailed action plan. Be realistic and specific. Come back to measurable objectives to track improvement.
No plan is set in stone. As you implement new strategies, it's critical to regularly review progress. Build in steps in your plan to adjust and refine based on results. Your evolving business needs become clear when you read between the lines of these successes or failures.
It can help to have examples of how other businesses like yours have successfully developed operational processes that work. Read how one tax consultancy made some radical decisions with newfound data and increased profits by 93% in three years.