Start Small Win Big 2013: Your Week 3 Action Plan

Step 3: Look at metrics. It’s week three and it’s time to set tangible goals to measure your success. To set your goal, you need to know the key drivers of success for your business.

For example, do you want to sell more products? Set your goal for increasing the number of units sold. Do you want to attract more customers? Set your goal to broaden your audience by finding new qualified leads. Do you want change your sales mix to sell more of your high-priced items? Set your goal to raise the average sale per customer.

Your homework this week is to state what metrics are important to you and your business. Maybe your small business isn’t launched yet, so you might think metrics don’t apply to you just yet. Not true. If you’re driving into unknown territory, don’t you want to set the GPS before you start driving? Once you do that, you can evaluate where you are today and have a goal of where you’d like to be.

Now I’m going to make your assignment a little harder. Once you figure out your goal, take a moment to see if there is another way of achieving the same results.

Let me give you an example. A few years ago, I worked on a story about the owner of a Laundromat. He was concerned because he discovered that on a couple of days a week he was not generating as much revenue as on the others. So he set a goal for himself of trying to drive more traffic to his store on those days. He was going to do it through coupons and other promotions.

Well, while this could work, a consultant we brought in to speak to the owner came up with another idea: Why not just hire less staff on the slow days? By doing this, the owner would still be able to serve his customer base and while his daily revenue would still be lower than the peak days, his profit would be similar. In addition, he wouldn’t have to discount his service, which might adversely affect the rest of the week.

The lesson here is to evaluate your metrics, carefully base your goals on tangible numbers and then go above and beyond—try and poke holes in that argument to see if there is anything to modify. I wish you all the best of luck this week!


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Editor’s note: This is the third of eight installments for SUCCESS’s 2nd annual Start Small Win Big entrepreneur challenge. If you’re not signed up for Start Small Win Big, it’s not too late. Visit to join.


JJ Ramberg is an author, the founder of and the host of MSNBC's small business program, Your Business. She was the featured mentor for SUCCESS' latest Start Small Win Big entrepreneur challenge. 

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