How to Tell If Your Business Is Successful On YOUR Terms

By Alexandra Suchman and Alison Mendoza-Walters

Part 2: Can You Measure Fulfillment?

Can You Measure Fulfillment?

For many mission-driven small businesses, the ultimate goal of the business owner is to feel personally fulfilled by providing a service or product that genuinely helps people, being able to work on her own terms, and/or doing what she loves for work. In order to be effective, however, you need to have some way to discern if your business is living up to your mission. In short, you need to use some form of business metrics.

I know, I know. The phrase “business metrics” sounds so corporate. So cold. So much like something “The Bobs” from Office Space would talk about. But “business metrics” is just the generic term for any type of indicator you use to check how your actual progress/status compares with your planned or predicted progress/status. This series is all about defining business success on your own terms, so the trick is picking the metrics that reflect YOUR version of success.

Business metrics are more complicated than just success versus failure. While your metrics should indicate if you are meeting (or moving toward) your goals, they also can provide you with really helpful information that will help you make better decisions about managing your business and workload. They let you know when you need to make changes and in what areas. For example:

  • Measuring your win or close rate helps you determine whether you are doing enough business development activities and whether you are targeting the right kind of opportunities.
  • Tracking how often and how much time you spend on work outside your ideal work hours (for example, late evenings and weekends) helps you see if you are maintaining your optimal work/life balance and can cue you to adjust accordingly.
  • Reflecting on how you feel about your projects (e.g., Am I proud of this work? Would I want to do this type of project again) can inform what types of clients and projects you pursue in the future.

Notice that these example include both quantitative (i.e. numbers-based) and qualitative (i.e. description-based) indicators.

Metrics that are right for you will help you take a hard look at your business and your experience as the owner over time, so you can see if you are heading in the direction of your goals, staying in the same place, or heading down the wrong path.

In our next post, we will delve more into the “how to” of creating your own “fulfillment” metrics.

Read Previous Posts in the “How to Tell If Your Business is Successful On Your Own Terms” Series:

Part 1: What does a successful business look like?