You Must Know Where You Are to Know Where You're Going
Updated: Sep 16
Are you ready to take your business to the next level and watch some explosive growth unfold over the coming months? Great. Before you start to plot and plan what you want to do to make that happen, it’s important to stop and look at where you’re at right now.
Business planning for future success is all about data. You can work most efficiently and spend your time and money most effectively if you know exactly where you are starting from. By recording data, you can start to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends are starting to play out. And it all starts with recording where you’re at right now.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you want to record. First though, you should decide how you want to record this information. You can write it down by hand in a notebook, open up a word document to do it digitally, or use a spreadsheet. I prefer a spreadsheet because I have the option to have it calculate fun additional information like weekly and monthly averages and even map it all out in graphics to help me get a clearer picture. Usually though, I START with a notebook to get it all down and brainstorm and THEN transfer it to that spreadsheet to be more “official.”
Traffic – To grow you need to expand your reach. That means getting more traffic, but also engaging the people that come to your site by encouraging them to click around and read more. Good things to keep track of are total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate, and of course where the traffic is coming from.
List / Subscribers – Your next goal is always to get these people on your list. Here you want to track total number of subscribers, conversion rates for each of your opt-in forms and pages, open rates for your emails, and also unsubscribes. As you start to collect and review this data regularly, you’ll get a much better picture of your subscribers.
Customers – Subscribers are great, customers are better. Start by keeping track of how many total customers you have and how many purchases per day, week, and month. Other good numbers to look at are the total lifetime value of your average customer, repeat purchases, and refund rates. If your business is not an online business, you should still be tracking how many of your subscribers become actual customers. It’s important information to know in your planning.
Income & Expenses – Last but not least, look at your bottom line. This is your typical accounting data. You want to keep track of your income as well as your expenses. With those two sets of numbers, you can easily calculate your overall profit. I find it helpful to look at profit for the month. But if you are product based, tracking income on a daily basis can help you identify trends.
Yes, you can look at most of this data in various different places like Google Analytics, your shopping cart, and your autoresponder service for example, but it’s important to have it all in one place. This makes it much easier to connect the dots and see the relationships between the different sets of numbers.
Now that you have your initial data collection set up, make it a habit to update the numbers regularly so you can see what’s working, what isn’t, and how much you’re growing as you move through the coming months and years.
Increasing Traffic, Subscribers & Customers To Boost Your Bottom Line
To grow your income, you need more customers. That in turn means you need more people to sign up for your list. Where do these new subscribers come from? You get them by increasing the traffic to your site. Some of the things you want to do and track are:
Get more traffic from various different sources. This should always be a priority and something you work on regularly. Track your growth as you move along and keep an eye out for fresh new ideas to boost your traffic.
Your next focus should be getting more subscribers. As you start to get more traffic, your list will start to grow, but don’t stop there. Tweak your opt in-forms to increase conversion. Create a new lead magnet to get the attention of a different sub-group of your target audience. Set up a few dedicated opt-in pages and start driving traffic to them. Do what you can to continually grow your list and pick up speed in the process.
The third piece of the puzzle and where things get real interesting is turning those subscribers into customers. You want them to spend money with you either by buying your products and services, or through your affiliate links. Offer more products. Raise your prices. Find more attractive offers you can promote as an affiliate. Work on your funnels. There’s a lot you can do to grow your bottom line once you have traffic and subscribers figured out.
The real power of this approach becomes apparent when you start to look at how these three things work in synergy. By getting more and higher quality traffic, while improving your opt-in rates, and creating higher-priced products with sales funnels that convert well, you can quickly make a huge difference in your bottom line. Each of these elements alone will help, but by combining them, you will start to see exponential growth.
Let me illustrate this with an example. Let’s say you start out with 100 new visitors per day. 10 percent of them sign up for your mailing list, which comes out to 10 new subscribers each day. One of these people buys one of your products at $10.
Now let’s see you double your traffic. With nothing else changing, you go from making $10 per day to $20. But what if you can also improve your opt-in forms and get to a 20% conversion. You also create a few more products and each of your customers ends up spending 3 times as much as before. When we add all that up you go from making $10 per day to 40 new subscribers each day which means 4 new customers. If each of them spends $30 shopping around in your shop, you end up making $120. That’s a pretty big bump from $10 while still only requiring you to double your traffic. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
Sit down and think of some things you can do for all three of the items above and write them down. Now, pick one and get to work!
Rebecca Paciorek is an Online Business Manager specializing in assisting in the growth of your business through traditional and digital means.
*I often recommend products and services that I use or that have been recommended to me by people we trust. In many cases these recommendations are accompanied by an affiliate link, which provides me with a referral commission should you click through and make a purchase.