Progress & Paperwork

Hopefully you’ve got big plans for 2012, and there’s lots of work waiting for you to get tucked into. Normally whenever I have lots of work, I find that it becomes very difficult to keep an eye on what actual progress is being made. There’s usually so much to do, that I spend most of my time getting-on-with-it. I have to literally stop and force myself to track progress, it’s something I’ve only started a few months ago, but it’s been incredibly handy.

The most important thing about taking a few moments out to write your reports, is that it gives you visibility on the less-exciting but critical elements that you otherwise might miss. For instance, bottom line vs. the number of clients – if everything is coming from one client, it’ll look great on your balance sheet but does your product have a wider appeal? Is the risk of having only one real client appetising?

Action 1. Define your key result areas, e.g. number of leads, lead-sale conversion ratio, bottom line, number of clients, geographic diversity of clients, number of dealers, number of retailers, rate of stock turnover, etc. Only pick the ones that are relevant, but whatever you pick, don’t remove – this isn’t a flavour of the month system.

Action 2. Define a frequency of reporting & stick to it. Weekly/Monthly, keep it short enough for you to react to the information, but not so short it’s useless.

Action 3. Don’t get bogged down or put it off. Yes it’s paperwork, but it needs to be done on-time for it to be useful. Don’t turn it into a mission either, it should be simple enough for you to do quickly (but accurately).

Action 4. React. Collecting information is useless if you don’t respond to it. Understand what it means, use it, change direction if required – but not every week.