Raise your hand if you know what a KPI is! I’m going to take a wild guess and say that if you never took a business class, you don’t know what I’m talking about, at least not the specific terminology. A KPI is a key performance indicator, or said more simply, it is a measure of success. KPIs can be used in every facet of a business to determine how well it is doing. From marketing to finances to employee satisfaction, KPIs are in place so that you know how well everything is going. As simple as that sounds, KPIs can get confusing in a hurry, especially if other people are telling you what they are (or should be). The only people who can truly know what the KPIs are for your company are you and your employees because you know the business better than anyone else.
Identifying Your KPIs
No matter the type of business you run, there will always be business to business connections and outside people giving you advice. They can be financial advisers who help you keep the money flowing, accountants who can tell where you to look for explanations of losses, or marketing agencies swaying you in the direction of trends. All of these people mean well, but they can make determining success more difficult for you. They are experts in the broad spectrum; they know finance, or they know marketing, or they know employee management, but they don’t know your company. While they can lead you in the right direction, the accountant’s numbers might not be the most accurate way to measure success because of the time-frame your projects take. The marketing agency might know the best way to get your name out on Google, but does it line up with your goals?
You and your employees know the everyday ins-and-outs of your company, and you know best what marks your success. So take the time to take note of those things. Employee satisfaction may be determined by benefits or fun activities rather than base pay. Sales might not be measured by quarterly numbers. Marketing success may still be in the paper realm, not online. Look at how you currently measure your successes, those are your KPIs. Find ways to measure them more consistently (if need be) and share them with everyone you work with, both inside the company and out.
The Value of Knowing Your KPIs
Why is it important to know what you KPIs are? If you have measures of success that work for you, why re-name them and clarify them? So that you can share them, and do what is best for your company. Earlier we talked about working with businesses outside your company, and how they will have their own KPIs for your business, those companies are why you need to identify your own KPIs. You know what works and what doesn’t for your specific company, so share that with the other businesses you work with so that what they do for you can be more effective. If they are working to meet your standards of success, then you will likely see more of it. It makes everyone more productive when they know what the goals are, what aspects of the business are being looked at most closely, and where improvements can be made. Knowing and identifying your own KPIs gives you full control even when you are working with other businesses; allowing you to create and maintain higher levels of understanding, control, and, of course, success.