Remember that weighing a turkey won’t get it cooked. Measurement alone serves no purpose. We’ve touched on this before: yes, you need to measure data to note improvement or see what isn’t working, but the data you collect has to have a point and it has to be interpreted wisely. Figures in isolation and without context don’t help you.

For example, could you look at your competitors’ performances too. You may have made more sales this month or this quarter, but your growth from 1% to 1.2% needs to be seen in the context of their 7%-10%. So, what can you learn form the way they do things?

Don’t focus on the past either. An improvement on the previous year’s figures should be great – but it may be that the figures don’t tell the whole story. Has your profit increased? Perhaps it has – but your sales were down, so your percentage increase still might not amount to more actual money than you made before. Have you spent on investment that you know you won’t recover for a while, but will reap the reward going forwards – in which case does it matter that your profit is down? You need to make qualitative judgements on quantitive data. And be honest: there is absolutely no point in manipulating figures for yourself – it’s your business, so who are you trying to kid?

Be precise about the figures that you want, be clear about how you are going to get them and be very clear about how you are going to use them to help your business succeed.

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