Making the most of the information you have. Part 2

Part 2: Using your information to drive your business
Last time we went through examples of the kinds of information you require and how you are collecting it. This time I’d like to concentrate on what you can do with it if analysed in the right way.
Here’s an example of the sort of thing I mean. I’ve been working with a client in the telecoms sector for over two years now to grow one particular area of their business (recurring revenue from calls and lines). 
At the start, I reviewed lots of information on their customers and their monthly spend. However, the data was all in tables in various spreadsheets, making it hard to see the patterns. For our first review meeting, I presented the information of monthly spend per customer in value order as a chart. It was the classic Pareto type graph – top 20% accounting for 80% of the sales – with a long tail of lower value customers. 
Looking at the chart, the MD immediately grasped that if he had a minimum spend of £500, he would be able to channel the company’s resources more effectively. From that simple insight, he and his team consciously worked with this purpose in mind – ensuring any new customers taken on were at or above this level. If they got leads that were below target, they handed them on to a partner better able to deal with them. 
End result: the business grew from £40k to £85k per month in 12 months and we are now focusing on taking it to £160k.
As I’ve said before, this is not rocket science, can be done quickly (hours rather than days and weeks of effort) and can yield big results.
Actions:
1. Pick one aspect of your business where you want to make rapid progress and assemble the relevant information
2. Get the information in chart form. You might want to experiment with different formats to see which one works best (for instance plotting data against time, or actual values by category (e.g. number of leads by source). If you’re not familiar with using Excel to do this – get someone to show you!
3. Review the information with this new perspective and take action on what pops out for you. It might be that everything’s on track – however by regular monitoring, you’ll be alerted to any shifts in performance and thus be able to take action that must faster

About Hilary Briggs

A management consultant with over 15 years of industrial experience having held senior management positions at Rover Group, Whirlpool Corporation and The Laird Group plc. For the last 10 years, she’s worked with SME’s to improve their performance. Hilary is Managing Director of productivity specialists R2P Ltd.