Wednesday, February 6, 2013

51 Weeks of Pace: Measure What Matters

Every month end is a good time to check in and see if you need to change your pace to meet your goals for the quarter.

If you have a monthly review process, use it. If not, then here are a few key questions to guide you:
  1. How would you rank yourself on your "getting things done" record for the month? What needs to change? Anything you thought was important that you need to stop trying to do? (brochures, website updates) Any top priorities you must ensure you get done? 
  2. Looking at this month's invoices and your Work-in-Process, plus work you have signed and know you will invoice this quarter, where are you versus your quarter goals? [see note below for WIP definition]
  3. What's in your marketing pipeline right now? Is there anyone you can move from prospect to client? What activities need to be calendared to make that happen?
  4. Are you making 3 quality marketing connections a week? (referral sources, prospects, past clients)  
  5. Looking at how business is coming in- do you need to make more connections in order to meet your goals? Do you need to change your script in order to turn those connections into leads, prospects and clients more quickly? 
Whether you do a lot of analysis or take a shot with a few data points, start going through this process monthly. Measure what matters, and when you do- take action based on the reality of the results. Change your plan. Connect your actions to your schedule and calendar. Make sure you're delivering great client work and attracting new work at the right pace to meet your goals.

Every month you need to check in as if it were Groundhog Day. Like that little guy below, it's time to raise your head up and check in with the outlook for the future.

February Reality Check - Groundhog on Alert

Note:  WIP is the value of the amount of client work you have completed but not yet billed. It's a number that you want to have on your monthly financial dashboard. If the number is increasing, or if it's lower than you think it should be, then you might have a problem with a lack of work- or you have a delay in your billings. In a solo/small shop, you might think it's just extra work to track WIP, but I'm going to submit that it helps you remain disciplined about timekeeping and billing. This also reduces cash flow stress, because you're more aware of the timing of your revenues. Track it!