Quite often you are so focused on the NOW, today and what sales are booked for the next week or so. While it’s important to have your finger on the pulse of what is happening NOW, you also have to look at the past to predict and be prepared for the future. That means looking at patterns and tracking trends.
Tracking trends in your small service business is important to help you make informed decisions about how to grow and improve your business. Planning and growth decisions are made by looking at historical numbers and then by forecasting growth over a period of time.
Here are some tips for tracking trends:
- Keep detailed records: Make sure you’re keeping detailed records of your business operations, including sales, expenses, and customer data. Be sure to track income and expenses by service line, if possible. This will help you identify trends over time. Task management software can offer features to maximize efficiency, minimize redundancy, and increase productivity and clarity for all staff. Not sure what to look for when shopping around for a task management system? Here are a few must-have features that any good task management software will include:
- Email notifications
- Billing and invoicing
- APIs and integrations
- Task creation
- Task tracking
- Team task management
- Scheduling and task prioritizing
- Collaboration tools
- User authentication and permissions
2) Use accounting software: Consider using accounting software to track your financial data. This can help you generate reports and analyze trends more easily. Print reports for the past 3-5 years and then compare what you see. Are your sales increasing or decreasing? What about gross profit or net profit? What products or services are growing and which one’s are bringing you higher profits? What expenses are increasing on a regular basis (so that you can tweak your pricing to ensure profitability).
3) Track your marketing: Look at what marketing efforts are working and what is not. Use specific promo codes or specials in different marketing methods. If people purchase or ask for a specific ‘deal’ that you only offered on social media with a promo code – you know how much that marketing tool is working. However, everyone understands that some results are more easily measured than others. So it’s important to establish quantitative key performance indicators (KPI) like impressions, CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and sales, as well as qualitative KPIs such as loyalty, reputation management and third-party credibility.
4) Monitor customer feedback: Keep track of customer feedback through online reviews, surveys, and other methods of feedback. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve your services. Staying informed about reviews is critical for small businesses for the following reasons:
- Reviews help potential customers find you online.
- They offer credibility.
- Reviews impact purchasing decisions. Review responses show that your business cares.
- Reviews provide essential feedback.
5) Analyze website traffic: Use website analytics tools to track the traffic to your website. Hopefully, your site has Google Analytics attached. The data can tell you a ton! This can help you identify trends in website visitors and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. If you can break out branded search, traffic, leads, and sales down to each marketing activity, then it is easier to track ROI. One of the best ways to start assessing ROI is discovering the sources of website traffic (organic, social, paid, referral, etc.) for each campaign to see what is driving the most website visits and qualified leads. From there, determine what sources drive the most customers so you’ll know which sources are most helpful in bringing in qualified leads and new customers.
6) Monitor industry trends: Keep up-to-date with industry news and trends through industry publications, conferences, and networking events. This can help you stay ahead of the curve and make informed decisions about the direction of your business.
By tracking trends in your small service business, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to help your business grow and succeed.
Need help tracking those trends? BOOK YOUR PROFIT PLANNING SESSION NOW!