Don’t Be Afraid of Numbers


A few weeks ago I had coffee with my colleague and like-minded thinker Pat Maykuth of Research Design Associates. In addition to discussing all the challenges that face today’s business owners, Pat invited me to be a Guest Blogger on her company’s website. You can read my post this week here.

Getting From Here to There

How do you get from where you are to where you want to go, with what you have?

All business owners come to a critical juncture at different points of their company’s lifecycle, where the difference between success and failure depends on their ability to respond to key questions with decisive action.


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”  ~ Asked Alice in Wonderland of the Cheshire Cat

For a new business startup, the question might be – What does it really take to get from the idea for my business to an actual, thriving enterprise?

The owner of a company in a growth stage might ask  – How can I expand my business and maintain stability at the same time?

Even the owner of a  well-established business, say a company that’s been around for 10 years or more, needs to keeping pushing the boundaries of his comfort zone in order to survive in the 21st century global marketplace.

And what about the owner who is ready to exit but doesn’t see a clear path, and doesn’t know what his business is worth, or if it’s worth anything once he is out of the picture?

So how can you use what you have to get from where you are to where you want to go?

Big corporations are incorporating analytics into their decision-making processes at a rapid pace. In fact, the national consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2018 in the United States alone, there will be 200,000 more jobs than graduates with “deep analytical talent”. While most independent business owners still rely on the same periodic reports that they’ve been using for over 100 years, trend analyses and statistical metrics support large corporations in expanding their dominance in their respective industries.

Quote of the Week:

“The use of big data will become a key basis of competition and growth for individual firms. In most industries, established competitors and new entrants alike will leverage data-driven strategies to innovate, compete, and capture value from deep and up-to-real-time information.”  ~ James Manyika et al, McKinsey & Company

There is good news in all this for the independent business owner. Most of the data you need to develop winning strategies for your business is sitting in your accounting software. It’s not hard to create valuable information from this data, in fact, all it takes is some basic arithmetic. The goal is Financial Visibility – achieving a thorough understanding of your company’s performance through the constant measuring and monitoring of targeted results. When you manage by the numbers you can move your company forward with strategic thinking, rather than constantly reacting to situations in crisis mode.

Financial Visibility in your business gives you the same tools that the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies rely to stay at the top of their industries. It’s right at your fingertips, you just have to learn how to look through the haze to find the clarity that’s within your grasp. And then you will know how you get from where you are, to where you want to go, with what you have.