In-N-Out Burger may win the prize for best run business in the World. They should be teaching courses on how to manage businesses. If even 30% of US companies were run as well as they are, the GNP would skyrocket.
In-N-Out counts everything. I know personally of one young man who was moving rapidly up in management. One night he noticed that the lettuce was running low. He checked prior years statistics on how many burgers they were likely to sell the rest of that night, checked his stock, and decided it would be tight, but okay.
Later, he checked again, and came to the same conclusion. At 12:30 a.m. the store ran out of lettuce. 20 people didn’t get lettuce that night. The young man was knocked off his management track and back to line status. He was told that he should have called his manager to get a second opinion.
What would happen in your business? Would anyone be checking the inventory that closely? Would anyone be able to review prior years statistics? Would anyone be demoted because 20 people didn’t get their lettuce just before closing?
The owner of another business I know about complains that his sales are down. He always seems surprised. The reality is that his business is seasonal, and if he were tracking sales by the day or week or month, he could easily predict when he will be slow.
• Helps with staffing decisions
• Advertising could even out the seasons
• Change the product mix or pricing based on season or even time of day
• Plan cash flow based on slower or more robust seasons
Tracking the Source of Traffic
Most small business owners do some types of advertising. Most fail to keep track of results. It is the rare business that asks an obviously new customer, “How did you hear about us?” Rarer still would be and keeping track of the responses in some detailed way.
• Determine what advertising and promotion is working
• See if you are getting referrals – reward those sending referrals
• Allows for inexpensive testing of new approaches to generate traffic
Tracking the closing Ratio
The closing ratio can make or break any business. There is a cost of new customer acquisition. It might be $1 or $100 or even more. This is the average amount of money you spend through all means to get a customer to walk through the door.
If that customer walks through the door and you or your staff fail to close them on a purchase, your cost of acquisition is wasted. If you have three sales people and one closes 80%, one close 50%, and one closes 30%, every customer who is waited on by the third sales person instead of the first one, is costing you huge money. Do you keep track of your closing ratio overall and by sales person? Imagine if your closing ratio went up 20%. What would that do to sales and profits?
• Determine an acceptable closing ratio
• Set commissions or other incentives based on closing ratio
• Create sales training and measure results
• Retrain or fire those who under perform
What should you be counting? This is a very, very short list of possible aspects of your business worth counting. How about some of these:
• Contact information like emails, text numbers, collected each day
• Incoming phone calls by subject matter
• New reviews on Yelp and Google My Business
• Out of stock causes lost sale – by item
• Customer count by hour
• Sales per customer
• Sales per invoice