In today’s data-driven world, there’s no shortage of metrics for business owners to study. Every platform, software program, plugin, app, and vendor you use has an analytics dashboard to let you keep track of what’s going on with your business. You can get deep in the weeds fast – really, really deep if you’re not careful. There are too many numbers for you to stay on top of all of them equally. You’ll have to pick and choose which metrics you care about, but here are seven numbers you absolutely can’t ignore.



Revenue: How Much Money is Coming In?



We’ll start with the obvious – it’s incredibly important for business owners to know how much money is coming into their business every month. Keep an eye on trends as the year passes. Maybe you are generally slower in the dark, cold months of the year but experience a spike during the summer. Maybe your holiday sales rush makes up for relatively sluggish sales the rest of the year. Whatever the results, keeping track of your revenue is the essential first step to knowing how your business is doing.



Expenses: How Much Money is Going Out?



This is another obvious one – you have to know how much you’re spending. You’re probably familiar with the phrase “you have to spend money to make money,” but this certainly has its limits. Brand new businesses often need a lot of startup cash, so if you’re just starting out don’t panic if your expenses exceed your revenue. But as soon as those sales start coming in, it’s time to bring these two numbers back in balance again.



Profit: How Much Money Am I Keeping?



If your business brought in $1,000,000 in revenue last year, on paper it looks like you’re doing great! But if expenses ate up all but $5,000 of that money, that paints a different picture entirely. It’s important to have some money left over to grow your business into the future. If you’re spending every dollar you make right away, you’re never going to be able to attract new customers the same way you would if you had a little extra to devote to marketing.



Employee Sales Numbers: Who is Contributing and Who is Slacking?



Great revenue and profit numbers can mask murkier realities. Your team overall might be doing great, but that might be mostly due to Andy, the rock star veteran who brings in over half your revenue all by himself. And what about Ryan, who has been with your company almost as long but whose numbers always lag far behind those of his peers? You can’t count on the Andys to carry the team forever. The Ryans of the group need to step up and contribute if your business is going to grow.



Social Media Engagement: Are Customers Connecting with You Online?



If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know we’re big fans of social media presences for small businesses. Hopefully you’re already updating your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other site regularly with engaging posts and photos (and if you’re not, get on it ASAP) and can start figuring out how to turn those likes and clicks into sales. Take a deep dive into your analytics and figure out what kinds of posts your followers like the most, then skew your content to cater toward those preferences. You’ll be tempted to go for variety, but resist the urge. If there’s a photo that got tons of engagement a few months ago, don’t hesitate to post it again! #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday are great excuses.



SEO Rank: Can Customers Find You on the Internet?



If you’ve never heard of SEO before, don’t panic. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to where your business appears in search results when someone searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or another site for keywords related to your business. For instance, if you sell handmade furniture, you might want to appear close to the top when someone types in “wood furniture,” “custom furniture,” and “furniture store.” There are marketing consultants who make their entire living managing SEO rankings for their clients, but there are some steps you can take on your own as well. Update your website regularly with new content – a great way to do this is by keeping a blog that you update once or twice a week. Share links to your website on your social media platforms and ask your customers to take a look around. Fresh content and lots of website activity are two of the biggest factors search engines consider when creating their rankings.



Customer Numbers: Are They Coming Back for More?



It is way, way more expensive to earn the business of a new customer than to keep the business of one you already have. Plus, loyal customers who have been happily patronizing you for a while will be more likely to roll with changes in your business model, try new products and services, and tell their friends about you. If most of your customers buy something once and never return, that should be a major red flag. You’re clearly not wowing them to the point where they just can’t help but return! Keep a close watch on these metrics and brainstorm with your team about ways to improve them. You customer service department will likely have great insights as they know what causes your customers to gripe the most. See what you can do about removing these barriers to a great experience.



What Does This Have to Do with Credit Card Processing?



A whole lot, actually. If you’re like many business owners, you probably get a significant portion of your revenue from credit card sales. Working with a processor who can offer you the latest machines, great rates, and exemplary customer service can impact almost all of the above categories. Plus, who wants to waste time staring at complicated credit card processing statements when there are all these other numbers to crunch? Work with a processor who makes it all seem effortless, like 360 Payments. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you why we’re a different kind of credit card processor.



PS – Crush your sales goals this year with these tips.



PPS – Consider adding a multichannel sales flow to reach customers wherever they are.