From hitting a revenue benchmark to expanding your team, goal-setting is a really important part of business development. But, when you’re responsible for marketing, sales, finances, and HR, it can be challenging to keep up with the goals you’ve set without regular check-ins on your progress. (Read: You won’t know whether you’re growing too fast, too slow, or if you’re even heading in the right direction.) On top of that, how are you even supposed to judge whether you’re “on track”?
And while there isn’t much data to tell us what “Goldilocks” level growth is in the wedding industry, the hive mind of the internet gives us a clue as to where those benchmarks are:
- Increase of 25% or more: Exponential growth (potentially too hot)
- Increase of 11% to 24%: Steady growth (just right)
- Increase of 10% or less: Slow growth (too cold)
The thing is, growth feels different to every wedding business—the impact too. So the key to measuring your own success boils down to having a clear understanding of your goals as well as having set parameters to help you see your progress. But, while a lot of wedding pros do a great job of setting goals, most can really step it up when it comes to checking in on the numbers they need to hit the sweet spot. So if it’s been a while since your last business check-in, pull out your goals and follow these steps to get on the right track and maintain the momentum.
Establish your definition of “success”
Success looks and feels different to everyone. For you, it might be to start paying yourself a decent salary, but for a friend, it could be building the business to the point it needs and sustains a team. Regardless of what your business goals are, there are no right or wrong answers—but you do need to get clear on how you define success so you can measure progress toward your goals.
The first step? Decide which numbers mean the most to you and can help you understand if you’re moving in the right direction. For example, do you care how many people visit your website on a monthly basis? Or are you hoping to grow your email list to generate more sales? Maybe you only care about how many discovery calls you book each month, or perhaps you look to your top-line revenue as an indicator of progress. No matter your definition of success, make sure you can collect real data and measure growth over time.
Keep an eye on your numbers
Once you’ve defined success on your terms, it’s time to start digging into the numbers—on a regular basis because you can’t see growth without month-over-month data! So step two is to set a recurring task in your calendar to track your key performance indicators (KPIs) each month. You can use a dedicated KPI tracking tool (like Enji!) to organize the data you pull from your CRM, website, email, social media, and accounting platforms.
What should your KPIs be? Depending on your goals, your KPIs can include things like email sign-ups, inquiries, downloads, consultations, or sales revenue. Use these numbers to make smart decisions about how you spend your time and resources, but don’t leave your intuition out of the conversation! If your gut tells you to try something new, it’s worth listening. Because while your numbers can support your choices, they aren’t the end-all be-all of your business’s success.
Pro-tip: Slow growth isn’t always a failure and exponential growth isn’t always an automatic win.
Look beyond financial growth
Many entrepreneurs are quick to let a profit and loss report tell them how their business is performing. But there’s so much more to it than money! And while your bottom line can certainly reveal valuable insights, consider some of these other variables that can signify business growth:
- Website Performance: Metrics like bounce rate and time spent on your site can tell you a lot about how well your messaging relates to your ideal clients. A lower bounce rate and more time spent on your site are good indicators you’re capturing their attention and piquing interest in your services.
- Booking Rate: A high booking rate signifies a strong sales strategy—and in many cases, it’s also a cue to raise your prices. Beyond your overall booking rate, consider the rate at which you are landing your ideal clients, which may look quite different (especially if you’re entering a new market).
- Engagement Rate: Engagement rates can clue you in on how well your ideal clients connect with your brand voice, whether it’s on social media, email, or blog content. Higher engagement rates mean your audience is listening!
While sales and profits are important metrics, they live at the bottom of your marketing funnel. So if you want to grow in these areas, you have to measure progress further up the funnel to increase awareness, interest, and desire before focusing on sales.
Adjust and realign your efforts
When you start measuring progress toward your goals, it can feel discouraging when the results aren’t what you expected. But a lack of momentum isn’t a failure; instead, it’s simply a sign that you must adjust your marketing and/or sales approach. Because consumer demands and expectations constantly evolve, so think of marketing as an ongoing experiment in promoting your business.
That being said, don’t shy away from trying new things if you notice a slowdown in business growth—lean into them! It’s common (and easy) to double down on the marketing channel(s) you use and are already comfortable with, but stagnation is best defeated by new approaches—not more of the same thing. Fortunately, since you’re tracking monthly KPIs, you’re in a position to make smart, data-based decisions on what to add, change, or remove from your marketing mix.
Regular growth check-ins will put you on the fast track to reaching your goals while keeping you in the know about underperforming marketing tactics. If you find yourself stuck in a period of slow growth—or worse, you aren’t able to pay bills and make wise investments—it’s a sign to revisit your goals and re-strategize your marketing strategy.
But to implement effective and impactful change, you have to look at your KPIs to determine what’s working and what no longer serves your business—which means you have to track them. So do the check-ins and look to your data—the numbers will point you in the right direction from there!
A marketing consultant and small-business builder, Tayler is the Founder of Enji—an exciting new startup launching in the spring of 2023. (Though you might recognize her from one of her other companies: TAYLRD Media and Designs and Sourced Co.). In her newest endeavor, Tayler is taking everything she has learned over nearly a decade of helping small businesses with marketing to design and build a suite of online marketing tools that fit your lifestyle and make sense for you.