Too Focused On Your Competition? Here’s How to Set Business KPIs That Matter

Too Focused On Your Competition? Here’s How to Set Business KPIs That Matter

business KPIs

While it’s often encouraged to be aware of your competition, giving them too much attention could actually hurt your business rather than help you. Losing track of your own goals and standards for success can negatively impact your own progress which is why you should set business KPIs to help you stay focused.

Obsessing about your competition? That has drawbacks

Whether you’re starting your own company, trying to move up to a new position or simply striving to be the best in your field, focusing on your competition can minimize your own goals, keeping you from moving forward as a company. Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t let your competition take up too much space on your agenda. 

Time is money

In the infamous words of Benjamin Franklin, time is money. Cliché as that might sound, spending your time obsessing over what other people are doing takes away valuable time that you could be working on your plan to achieve success.

Everyone is different

Keep in mind that everyone has a different road to success. Some opportunities will come easier to other business than they will to yours, but don’t let that discourage you. With the right mindset, there are usually ways to strategize a path that’s right for you. Focus on what it is that makes you different instead of trying to catch your competition. Also, remember that you don’t have a clear insight into what’s under the hood of every business. They might be low on cash even if their sales numbers appear higher than yours.

Your strengths are unique

Identify your strengths and what makes you valuable, as well as some weaknesses you can work to improve. You’ll be able to move forward with more meaningful intentions if you do so. Avoid comparing yourself too harshly against others, as their strengths will inevitably be different from yours.

Research, then act

Look at business that have similar values to yours — whether they’re in your industry or not. Only focusing on your direct competitors doesn’t give you enough information because you can’t be sure they actually do business in a way that aligns with your own company’s values. By researching ways that other companies with similar DNA to yours operate, you can learn how to take action in a way that makes sense for you. Research can only get you so far, and there comes a time to use the knowledge you’ve learned to formulate your own plan.

6 Steps to setting actionable business KPIs

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are a metric system for your company’s journey and they can help every business unit stay accountable throughout the quarter. Not only do they help entire teams stay focused on business goals but they can help track individual progress so you know who on the team is performing. 

Ready to set your own actionable business key performance indicators? Here are the steps to help you get there.

Step 1. Identify your current strengths and weaknesses

The first step to setting actionable business KPIs is identifying your strengths as well as the areas in which you would like to improve. This could be anything from your organization system, to building stronger relationships with clients to growing your professional network. Try writing out a list and circling the weaknesses that are most important to you to get started.

Step 2. Get feedback from business partners and consumers

Getting a gauge of the public’s opinion toward your company or brand is a great way to get started with setting key performance indicators. If you work with other people, send out a forum to see how they think you can better your business. Employees and coworkers are reputable resources and have diverse ideas for bettering and expanding your business. You can and should also survey customers regularly to get their feedback on what you’re doing well and where you can improve.

Step 3. Recognize the nuances of your industry

Before setting KPIs, consider the industry in which your chosen profession sits. Is your company or profession similar to others within the industry or does it operate in a unique way? Once you properly identify your niche within the industry, you can determine the leading competitors and research their business model. Don’t get too caught up on this step though — you could get paralyzed by spending too long analyzing your competitors. 

Step 4. Set measurable goals

Experts say key word when it comes to your business goals is measurable. It’s probably a better use of time to make detailed business objectives rather than vague big picture plans. For example, instead of “improve consumer reviews,” a more measurable goal would be “improve consumer reviews on a five star scale by one star within the next year.” That way, you can hold yourself accountable the next year for achieving better reviews.

You can measure everything, even areas that might seem more qualitative. Get supervisors to create a system that can measure how often employees demonstrate your company values, or how often they go above and beyond to really help the team find their core purpose. You’d be amazed at how well measuring works when you begin to commit to it.

Step 5. Collect and apply data

With any profession, there is data you can use to measure your success. Whether you’re a CEO of a major company, starting your own business or doing freelance work for a living, it’s helpful to collect and analyze data about your progress. Assess the factors of your business which would be helpful to measure, and then get organized about tracking them. There are a lot of apps that can help you store and analyze data, but Microsoft Excel is both free and easy to use. You can also ask business associates which systems they use to collect data if you’re not sure which is best for you.

Step 6. Assess and reset

An important part of setting meaningful key performance indicators is evaluating your success and then raising the bar. Once you’ve reached a goal, take a moment to celebrate with your team and then assess how to build on that success. If you do this every year, either for your own career or with your business associates, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with how quickly you see professional growth.

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