A few years ago, I adopted the practice of naming each year with one word as a focal point. 2018 was mindfulness and 2019 was goals. This past New Year’s Eve, while attending a friend’s well-decorated party, one of her young kids asked, “Why are there 2020s everywhere?” Without hesitation, I answered, “We’re all wishing for 20/20 vision.” While my response was a bit tongue-in-cheek, I felt my aha! moment and that’s how 2020 became the year of clarity for me.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced the saying that hindsight is 20/20 several times. As someone who loves to analyze situations and sees connections between seemingly unrelated things/events, I have learned valuable insights by tracking things and reviewing the data on a consistent basis. On a personal level, whether I’m keeping a food journal, tracking my miles to train for a race, or capturing my activities during the day, when I make the effort to record the data, review and adjust as needed, I see greater results. On a professional level, assigning metrics to campaigns, defining goals and KPIs, and conducting 360-degree reviews, are critical inputs to understand the impact of your efforts to the top and bottom line.
For the past 8 days, I have tracked my sleep (duration and quality), mood, weight, exercise (type, duration, effort level), food and activities from 5am-8:30pm. I have also tracked my daily intentions, end of day summary, and have a brain dump for work and personal activities. I have noticed a correlation to my productivity and sleep as well as a greater-than-I’d-like impact that my children have on me when their behavior is, shall we say, unexpected. While this may not seem like a true insight, I didn’t previously recognize the long-lasting impact the 12-and-under age group has on me. Now that I am armed with this information, I can learn strategies to process and release (or hide in my bedroom) faster so that I don’t lose productivity. While sleep impacts my productivity, I also see a correlation between my sleep quantity/quality and my morning clarity when I set my daily intentions. A relatively easy adjustment to improve my quantity is go to bed earlier (although I really did enjoy Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist last night). Instead of struggling to set intentions with a potentially foggy mind in the early morning, I can define my future intentions the night before. These are small changes that I will begin to implement today that will likely have the desired positive impact to my productivity. As I continue to track, analyze and adjust as needed, I will increase my efficiency and effectiveness, resulting in growth.
As a small business owner, I strongly encourage you to take the time to identify an area of opportunity in your business, track your activities involved, assign metrics to various campaigns and tactics, and the results of these efforts. Once you have enough data, look back and see what correlations you can make between your activities and the results. Take time to understand what worked and what didn’t work as expected. Identify small changes you can implement immediately to start testing new approaches and assess the new results.
Data only helps if you take time to pull it, analyze it, optimize as needed and repeat the cycle. It’s important to understand what’s working and why, as well as, what’s not working and why. People tell me, when it comes to marketing, they just throw everything at the wall to see what sticks. This is not efficient or effective for your time or budget. I understand that project timelines can get away from us, and you just need to get the word out in the eleventh hour. Planning, and creating a marketing strategy will maximize your results by providing the foundation needed before you begin to implement the marketing tactics. In other words, if you want to place an ad on Facebook, it helps to know who your ideal customers are, if they are active on Facebook, and what their needs and pain points are so you can reach them with a relevant message that tells them how your product/service will help them. When you have these answers, and you have verified they are indeed on your social media platform of choice, you are ready to place an ad on that platform knowing your ad dollars have a chance to create the impact you want.
Clarity takes time and effort. What are some areas in your business that could benefit from analysis and incremental changes? Put the metrics in place to build your data set, or assess your current data, then analyze, optimize, repeat. It’s worth the effort (I typed this through implementing the process and release strategy mentioned above while both children fought me on completing chores and homework). Anything is possible. Share your experience or goals below or feel free to connect with me or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.