A business should always be moving towards a set of goals. As soon as one set of goals is accomplished, a new set of objectives needs to be put in place. But how do you track how your team is doing in between goal creation and realization?
The Importance of Tracking Progress
Whether it’s a fitness goal, business objective, or anything in between, tracking progress from the beginning to end is highly beneficial. It’s motivating, reassuring, and mentally stimulating. But why does it work?
There are a number of possible explanations for why progress tracking works, but the mere exposure effect seems to be one of the most plausible.
“When you keep track of how much you spend on food, you dine out less. When you watch how many glasses of water you drink each week, you drink more. It’s human nature,” Participaction.com explains. “By merely measuring your activity, you should see an improvement.”
In the context of business, the mere exposure effect states that you’re more likely to achieve your sales, marketing, and customer service goals when you’re laser-focused on doing what it takes to reach them.
4 Tips for Tracking Your Progress
The question is, how do you track your goals so that you stay motivated and on-target? Every business will find different points of application, but here are some suggestions and best practices:
Establish Key Performance Indicators
In today’s business world, data is everywhere. In fact, you probably have more data than you know what to do with. But in terms of tracking progress, the best thing you can do is start every business goal or objective with a carefully chosen set of key performance indicators (KPIs).
KPIs can range from basic metrics like website traffic to complicated equations like the EBITDA formula. Find out what works in your situation and use these metrics as proof points to tell you whether or not you’re reaching your goals.
Use a Project Management Tracking System
You’ve probably noticed that there are myriad of project management tracking systems on the market. And while you may assume that software like this is designed for large organizations, it’s helpful for small companies as well. If nothing else, it provides a boost to your team’s motivation.
“Collaboration is a key factor of every project,” Project Central explains. “If every member has clarity on their role, they can work toward the group objectives. As projects progress and the task list diminishes with every day, team motivation to carry on and complete the project intensifies.”
Another way to track progress is to gauge the level of satisfaction. Depending on the goal, you’ll want to measure three different types: personal satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction. In terms of employee satisfaction, surveys are excellent qualitative resources.
“Surveys are a great tool to help you understand the level of happiness and satisfaction an employee feels towards their job, as well as an excellent source for gathering suggestions about where the business can improve,” marketer Nicole Walters writes. “A happy employee typically performs better, is a more productive and stays at their job longer than a dissatisfied employee.”
Surveys can also be used to determine customer satisfaction with your brand and its products.
Keep a Pictorial History
If you’re looking for an out of the box idea for tracking long-term progress in your business, consider doing what entrepreneur Andrew Griffiths does and keep a pictorial history of your company.
“I take photographs of my premises, my staff, any promotions or events that we hold, and any other general bits and pieces that have some relevance to me,” Griffiths explains.
“Along with these photographs, I also collect pieces of promotional material, samples of office stationery, letters from customers, and so on, which I keep in a photo album. They provide a snapshot of my business during its various stages of evolution.”
Putting it All Together
It’s time to stop haphazardly approaching key business challenges and start making the most of your opportunities by carefully and systematically tracking your progress from the beginning to the end.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas that you can use to take your business to the next level.