Are you ready to take your online business to the next level and watch some explosive growth unfold over the coming months?
Of course you are!
But 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 are right now so you know what you need to work on.
For example, let’s say you want to increase your income. If you know your offer is converting at a high rate, but see that you don’t get much traffic to that offer, you’ll know you should focus on building traffic rather than trying to create more products.
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’re starting from.
By recording data, you can start to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends are starting to play out. It all starts with keeping a record of where you are right now.
Choose a Recording Method
Before you dive in, 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 like to use a spreadsheet I created in Airtable 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.
Pick a method that you can stick to and that what feels best for you. While I love spreadsheets, you may prefer to write everything down on planner pages.
Whatever you choose, remember to keep your records organized so you can easily go back to them and check your numbers.
What to Track
Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll want to keep track of.
While I realize that you could just look at most of this data in various different places like Google Analytics, your shopping cart, and your autoresponder service, 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. Plus you don’t have to log in to 50 different services just to see your numbers. Keeping everything in a single place creates a nice overview.
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 the total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate, and of course where the traffic is coming from.
Email List / Subscribers
Once you get people to your site, your next goal is always to get these people on your list.
Here you want to track the 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.
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.
Income & Expenses
Last but not least, take a 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 your profit for the month, but track income on a daily basis.
Now that you have your initial data collection set up, make it a habit to update the numbers regularly. This makes it easy to see what’s working, what isn’t, and how much you’re growing as you move through the coming months and years.
Whether your business experiences growth, stagnation, or a regression, make a note of what happened that month to cause that result. You’ll be able to track why you had this experience so you can plan appropriately for future attempts.
For example, if you see a dip in website traffic, it will be easy to attribute to how you spent less time promoting your content than you did the month before. That should be motivation enough to get you to work harder on promotion for the next month.
Or on the other hand, maybe you have a huge boost in email subscribers during one month, but only half as many the next month. Rather than feel like you’re failing to continue to grow, you’ll know that spike in growth was due to a contest you held and you won’t see that level of growth continuously.
At least not yet! You’ll get there if you keep it up. Good luck!
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