With the new year, there is a good chance your team worked on strategic planning and goal setting for 2022 and beyond. Creating yearly goals is critical to the success of your organization. Middle markets are predicting another robust year with most companies projecting revenue growth rates of 9.9 percent. However, if you aren’t setting the right goals and tracking them appropriately, accomplishing them can be a challenge.

In fact, a recent study by Clutch surveyed 502 small business owners and found that 65% of companies only met half of their objectives during the last 12 months. Only 5% achieved all their goals.

One of the top reasons organizations fail to accomplish growth goals is that they use archaic methods for tracking progress. Worse still, they might be tracking the wrong metrics for the desired outcome they are targeting. Choosing the right growth goals and leveraging the right data to create meaningful metrics is vital in driving real business results.

Before choosing growth goals to focus on, it is critical to be aligned around a growth agenda. Large organizations have been focused on setting the right level of ambition for their company’s growth agenda for years. Today, we are seeing high growth middle market and smaller businesses following suit.

Too much focus on stabilizing your core and you will be in danger of disruption. Too much focus on transformational innovation and you are putting your organization at too much risk. Balancing these levels of ambitions allows for developing breakthroughs for markets while optimizing your existing core business.

However you choose to approach, once your growth agenda and goals are in sync, you are ready to start aligning your data to track these goals.

It all starts with your data

To start the process, you need to first identify what data you need and where it lives within your organization. Think of your key metrics such as people, product sales or recurring revenue and data sources such as ERP software, databases, and spreadsheets. Once you determine what you are measuring, then you can improve your processes and business.

You must determine and define your leading indicators to help you predict the future and lagging indicators to tell how you did.

Remember: Dashboards, reports and forecasts are only as useful as the timeliness and accuracy of their source data. You must assess your organization’s data maturity, including the technology stack and data literacy of your team. Ask your organization these questions:

  • How will you measure progress towards your goals?
  • What metrics and key indicators or KPIs/ OKRs do you need to capture?
  • What tools and best practices are in place to manage the data that is critical to measuring business success?

Learning where your organization stands with these core data competencies is the first step towards making data-driven decisions. Once you have a grasp of these items, you can begin to apply these techniques and track your business growth goals.

Optimize operations and work processes

There are many modern tools that make it easy to track business growth through easy-access reports and dashboards. If done right, you can save not only time but on your bottom line.

  • Sales data, sales and production by location. If your business has locations throughout multiple states, you may rely on daily email reports from each location to track sales. This can be time-consuming and often inaccurate. By integrating with the point-of-sale systems at each location and building a series of Power BI reports, business owners can check on each location’s sales metrics at any time.
  • Track material costs/delays/supply chain. Manufacturing and consumer goods are particularly concerned about supply chain issues that remain prevalent. Businesses spend hours each day manually extracting reports to aggregate data from the company’s ERP to determine what shipments were late from the day before and what needed to get out the door today. Automating this process is essential in optimizing efforts this year. Connecting to the ERP system enables this information to be available automatically from the warehouse floor in real time. Additionally, this system provides insight into shipping company delays and can help reclaim hundreds of thousands of dollars for an organization.
  • Update your infrastructure, spend wisely on data computing (cloud reporting). While more organizations are moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud, many struggle to manage these investments and are unnecessarily spending hundreds or thousands of dollars. By combining pre-built tools and dashboards, cloud computing architecture experts can deliver the metrics organizations need and can recommend how to act upon these insights while providing some insight on cyber risks.

While dashboards and reports have been around for a while, the time and effort required to deliver results has drastically decreased. Manual reports have been replaced by real-time, automated reports.

As you analyze your strategic planning and goals for the year, ask: Are you on the mark, or is your organization’s strategy going off the rails?

Content provided by LBMC professional, Luke McConnell.

Our LBMC Advisory Services team can partner with you to build custom strategies and solutions to help drive business growth, master your most critical business needs, and meet evolving marketplace demands. Contact us to learn more.

Originally posted on Nashville Business Journal.