Measuring Success as a Small-Business Owner
National Small Business Week is a perfect time for business owners to reflect on the ups and downs of the last year and project what the next 12 months may have in store.
For me, that includes looking at the standard metrics – profit and loss statements, aging reports and the balance sheet – and comparing them to the previous year. Those numbers often look good until I look forward to the goals we have set for this year. Looks like I will need to step it up a bit in the area of business development over the next three quarters. But what’s new?
There are, of course, other metrics by which to measure the success and health of your company. At the top of that list is our most important resource – our people. While maybe not as easy to measure as cost of goods sold, the loyalty, commitment and passion of your team is the very heart of every thriving company.
For those of us in the professional services arena, nothing else really matters. For us to be successful, we need team members who buy into our corporate vision, aggressively seek what’s best for our clients and unselfishly work together toward our common goals.
I am grateful to have such a team. Each person brings a unique skill set and perspective that allows us to be better as a whole than as individuals. This year, we lost one team member (she is still alive, just took another job) and added a completely different position. Moving the parts around creates flexibility and the ability to serve clients in different ways. It was a good year to see that reality in action.
Another measurement in determining the health of the company is how good of a job I am doing as a leader. This is, of course, my least favorite area to evaluate.
At the beginning of the year, and actually the beginning of each of the last several years, I have been given the goal of spending less time in my business and more time on my business – as is preached regularly at the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship.
That means being a leader in addition to being a producer, keeping promises to meet with team members and provide the support they need to be successful. It means offering more opportunities for team building and professional development – and I think we are making progress in those areas.
It means spending less time behind my computer screens editing and writing, which I am thanks to the aforementioned staff changes, and spending more time developing relationships, networking and taking a bigger-picture look at our clients and how to serve them well.
It also means listening more and talking less. I am still working on that part.
Finally, I want to measure our success as a company by what we are doing in the community beyond the walls of our office space.
I have always appreciated the work of Rotary around the world and in our community to make a difference. Our club is incredibly active in providing hands-on help and financial support to amazing programs throughout the region. From building bunk beds and home access ramps to funding therapy dogs and serving in the classrooms of Bond Elementary, Sunrise Rotary is seemingly everywhere, and I was blessed this year to be a small part of it. By the way, the entire Fiore team was involved as classroom volunteers, and I am proud that they wanted to participate.
That afternoon in May, I met many of my LT classmates for the first time, but I really had no idea what they would mean to me just a short 12 months later.
Including college, I have lived in Tallahassee for 37 years, but over the last year I was exposed to places, people and historical facts that I knew nothing about. It seems like every month I asked myself, “How did I not know that?”
My circles of friendship and influence have expanded dramatically, and I feel much better equipped to discuss community issues because of what I have learned and who I have listened to. My Facebook feed is more diverse as is my perspective.
So, yes, it has been a great year.
I am grateful for what we have been given and hopeful that we steward it well in the future.