This week I’ve been reflecting on how we measure success both for ourselves and others. It’s so easy to get caught up in everybody else’s vision of success but the truth is that success looks very different to each and every one of us. So how do you measure it? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, understanding what success means to you is essential. How do you compare results and effort? How do you ensure you’re building a business that’s going to work for you and meet your version of success?
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” Maya Angelou
How do you measure success?
Success looks very different depending on your perspective. Investors and other contributors to businesses usually want to see a measurement that objectively captures success. But is it possible to be objective? When others look at you and your business, what do they see? Some people struggle to feel like a success even when others see them that way. If you struggle to feel successful would ‘objective’ measurements help convince you?
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine which made me really think. She was comparing her business with mine. I’ve seen huge growth in the last few months plus I’ve almost finished my second book. She was comparing herself negatively with me. For me it’s a false comparison. She has two children and a new partner and elderly parents with health issues. She’s made different choices in her life. Her business is completely different than mine.
The point is that measuring success is a deeply personal thing. Your success will look very different to mine. And just looking at outputs is far too narrow a view. What are you choosing to put your energy into? If 50% of your energy is going into your business and 80% of mine is going into my business – is it fair to compare them? The true measures of success are more subjective than bottom-line numbers. If I’m not satisfied, then most likely my team are not. If customers are not satisfied, it may be that they are on the receiving end of a dissatisfied employee, or a disgruntled customer could be pointing to our level of learning about what they truly need.
Here are my Seven Golden Measures of Success:-
Remember that the most important measure is what you choose to define as success. True, the measures I’m sharing with you below are important, but comparing yourself to others is a waste of time, because they each have a different definition of success than you. And they’re making different choices.
🌟 Profitability. The simplest of measures – is your business making more than it spends? Is it doing so consistently and is the number increasing? Is there enough left over to pay you what you want to be earning? Are you able to invest in future growth?
🌟 Number of customers. Every business needs customers. A successful business has a growing customer base with a steady stream of leads in the pipeline. Are your lead generation and conversion rates improving? What about your cost of acquisition?
🌟 Customer satisfaction. It’s all very well having customers but are you giving them value? Are they happy not just with the service you provide but the whole experience of dealing with your business? Would they buy again and do they refer you to others?
🌟 Team engagement. Happy, motivated employees are an important measure of success. When they engage with your vision and pull in the same direction, their productivity fuels the growth of your business. When your people are happy, they’re focused on keeping your customers satisfied.
🌟 Learning. Experience and knowledge are often what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from people just starting out. It’s not just about what you know about your market, customers, competitors but also what you’ve experienced along the way. The choices you’ve made, the successes and the failures.
🌟 Your satisfaction. This is, in many ways, the most important measure of success. It’s a tough one because many entrepreneurs are never satisfied. But being happy isn’t the same as settling. You can be happy and still want to achieve more!
🌟 Your time. The holy grail of business ownership. When you’re able to determine how you spend your time it means you’ve been able to delegate and create an efficient organization. You’re able to focus on making the key strategic decisions in your business. And you can choose to spend time on what you want to be doing.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – September 2021