Using Business Metrics for Results

mathematical beauty

I wanted to talk today about how we can use measurement via business metrics to get the results we are looking for. Measurement, tracking, numbers – even music and poetry, have a type of mathematical beauty. Bertrand Russell expressed his sense of mathematical beauty in these words:

“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.”

And we want to use measurement to our advantage because mostly what get’s measured get’s done.

Now, I know this can be a hurdler for creatives – I know, I resisted it for a long time. Sometimes it’s just easier to keep things vague, fuzzy and in the land of potentiality – and that’s fine – but if it impedes the results you are looking for then it might be time to introduce some type of measurement.

Now, of course, this is nothing new. If you recently watched the Olympics you saw some of the mostly finely-tuned athletes in the world – where hundredths of a second count. These are some of the most “measured” athletes ever. From their caloric intake to their repetitions and training schedules – they are measured in supreme detail. Why, because they know it produces results.

So how can we bring measurement into our art business to achieve specific results? First, we need to decide on a specific and precise result. Maybe making an extra $10,000 from our art this month or creating an extra 10 paintings this month.

Now that we have this precise goal we can easily introduce measurement to get these precise results we are looking for. If we want to make an extra 10K next month and we only made 2K last month we need to look at how we produced the 2K.

If we had 4 sales-related conversations that produced 1 sale of 2K, then it’s pretty easy to figure out that we need to up our conversations to 20 per month to achieve our goal of 10K per month. That’s less than 1 sales-related conversation per day! do-able, right?!

Also, when you measure you can adjust. It’s very easy to look and adjust your activity based on your results. What if you didn’t come close to your target? Well, you may have to find another process that gets better results. No big deal, just keep testing (and moving) until the formula works – then it’s just a matter of replicating and scaling the system.

I have found, over the years, introducing business performance metrics can really take the pressure off because you defined *specifically* your result and all you have to do is follow the recipe to produce the result. So it actually makes life easier.

Part of the reason measurement is so successful is that it introduces the game element. The process becomes fun and engaging. You have 5 days left to produce 2 more sales – can you do it? Can you score with only 2 minutes left in the game? (Maybe ask Peyton Manning about that one!)

I remember one of the first things that helped me with introducing measurement was to get Quicken (the financial software by Intuit). It was many years ago but once I implemented it it was a snap to see exactly where I was financially. No more vague ideas of how much I had (or didn’t have) it was right there in clear numbers.

This really helped me asses where I needed improvement and what ay needed to concentrate on to increase my monthly finances (which was my goal). It wasn’t easy to do initially because I knew I had room for a LOT of improvement but that one change, paradoxically, gave me a a lot of power (and a lot of control) over my finances.

And you can using any measurement tracking device that makes sense to you and is easy to use. (I liked Quicken initially because it resembled a checkbook and was super easy to use) But use other software or flipcharts
(even the tall stand up ones) or notebooks or journals or whatever works best for you. (and sometimes you just have to try a few different ones – especially when just beginning)

So take a look. How can you introduce measurement into your business? (or even your life – i.e.; losing weight) What *precise* result am I looking for? What time frame do I want to achieve this result in? Then look for a measurement system that might work for your project.

I would love to hear of your results so send me a note or please comment on this post.

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