As a business coach, you're usually more focused on other people's businesses than your own, but you know the value of monitoring and strategizing for your business - it's just tough to make time!
In the spirit of being efficient, picking out some top metrics can make a big impact in using data in your own business and helping you narrow your focus.
1) Ongoing Clients
If you're going to focus on just one thing - one "canary in the coal mine" that's the first domino to fall for the rest of your business, ongoing clients is probably it.
If you have consistent clients you can, of course, make a bigger impact, create a stronger relationship, get referrals from them, increase rates over time, etc. - you know all this.
So why is this important, other than the consistent revenue piece? This is your big indicator for planning and creating a strategy.
If you're looking to grow your business, you'll want to know your ceiling for clients you can handle. For simple numbers, let's say it's 20 clients at 4 hours a month. That's 80 hours a month strictly for client work.
Once you factor in all of the other "stuff" you do, your time is pretty thin. So if you want to grow, you then see at least three paths forward: raise rates, be more efficient, or hire coaches to work for you.
Then those paths provide options that need data-supported consideration too while keeping in mind that retention of your existing clients is a major factor too.
We could go down the rabbit hole of those options, but the point is, that initial number of ongoing clients controls your revenue, your time, and your strategy.
2) Hourly Rate
Is it worth your time to build the processes to track the homework you give to your clients? Or to put out a new blog? Or manage your calendar?
There is a lot of value in all of those activities, but the opportunity cost of working with a client vs doing anything like that is an important comparison.
Not only that, what is your hourly rate per client? Are some clients taking more of your time than they should? How long does the initial ramp-up period last with clients? If you give them a discount to start, while you're also investing more time than usual, that client better stick around for a long time to even out!
Ranking clients by hourly rate might sound harsh, but it's not meant to call out the "bad" and highlight the "good". It's a reflection of your time and your value that you're giving to clients - not necessarily a reflection of the client. If a certain client is producing the lowest hourly rate, you might just be investing too much time (or not charging enough) and it could be a signal that you're doing a disservice to your clients on the other end of the spectrum. The point is, it's a very good ranking to be aware of and know the reasons why the hourly rates are what they are.
Tracking your hourly rate is important for all of these reasons, but it also gives you confidence in knowing that every hour you spend, you're earning money. And as a small business owner, that's a really reassuring thing to know!
3) Average Client Size
The age-old question "what's your target market"? It's great to know your average client size for those elevator pitch moments, but for so many other reasons too.
If you like working with solopreneurs, great! If you like consulting with 100+ person companies, great! You're in a position to know all the ins and outs of your client's businesses and this is an important one to know.
From knowing who you're able to add the most value to, you can narrow your focus (of course) but also create content that is easily repeatable with clients. A sales video that suits a solopreneur really well won't work the same when talking to the CEO, who would share that with the Sales leader, who would then share it with the Sales folks.
You know there are dozens of business coaches in your area, and thousands in the country. You need to know where you can deliver the most value and own that demographic as much as possible!
4) Cost per Acquisition
This goes in the right direction if you target your ideal clients, of course.
Cost per Acquisition is probably something you handle with your clients, and you should eat your own cooking in this case. For service providers in general, we spend a lot of time and a lot of money on marketing - it's a big cost, and one of the biggest since we don't have much COGS.
The only real "twist" here is making sure you account for your time in the calculation. Remember your hourly rate from earlier? You may have to adjust that to include ALL of your time. Not just billable client hours. From there, you can measure how much time you spend prospecting, having one on ones, etc., multiply that by an hourly rate and come up with a total expense associated with acquiring a client.
This is something to measure over time (large time periods like 6 months or so work best, unless your sales cycle is shockingly just a few days) and to measure by marketing channel. If LinkedIn posts are free, only take a few minutes, and yield the same amount of clients as SEO... it might be time to shift more resources to LinkedIn and less to SEO (for example).
Some final thoughts
Tracking some of this can be annoying, yes. But it's worth it tenfold. Whatever you do though, make sure you can easily track everything and make the results visual! Dashboards help a lot here and they'll help you actually use your data.
If you're able to track these metrics, you can continue to grow and build a strong strategy. If you're looking to do either of those, and not using your data, you won't be building a complete strategy.
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