You can track your marketing results on paper but what’s the point? Why spend your valuable time doing calculations manually when a computer can automate the process for you?
Here are the tools I suggest you use:
I recorded my vital statistics using Excel. I recorded by month the following:
- No of new clients
- Total number of clients
- Advertising cost per month (also split by publication source)
- Total revenue per month
- Total revenue from new clients
- Total revenue from existing clients
- Number of appointments per month from new clients
- Number of appointments per month from existing clients
- Total number of appointments per month
This was relatively straightforward to do. At the end of each week I updated my figures and keep track of my progress. The trends were of great interest to me as it gave an insight into what was happening in my business. I just couldn’t believe how easy it all was and it pointed to a prosperous future.
I created ad hoc graphs to visually see the trend. It’s much easier to analyse what’s happening over time by viewing the data graphically. The trends were all positive, although after a while you reach plateau’s. Then they take off again.
I also tried using a database. I created my own customer database using Microsoft Access. It allowed me to record the following information:
- Client Name and Address
- General notes about the client
- Advertising source
- Appointments made, the date, hourly charge rate, duration, why the appointment was made, whether an invoice has been sent, whether payment has been received and notes for each appointment.
Then I created a whole host of reports that gave me the vital statistics needed to run my business. Everything was available at the click of a button. This saved me enormous amounts of time as I got busier and busier.
Which must you start with, which should you finish with and why
Start by using a spreadsheet like Excel. You can set-up a spreadsheet to record your results in no time at all and not get side-tracked by developing a comprehensive database.
When you get busier and more experienced (say 3 months after launch), then you can look at improving your internal systems. By learning Microsoft Access, you can then offer training on it as well as using it to develop your database. You’ll kill two birds with one stone.
So, start with Excel and finish with Access.
Predicting future earnings down to the penny!
When you get several months data in, you can predict the results of your advertising with considerable confidence. When trying new media such as a competing local free ad paper, you have a rough idea of what might happen because you can look at your historical results from similar media.
This makes the whole process of predicting your future earnings easier. By using the reporting from your spreadsheet or database, you can see where you are heading and not be faced with the uncertainty that you face when first starting out.
Also, if you have carefully monitored your results you can decide how much work you want to generate. Just up your advertising spend if you are going through a dry patch. You can predict with some accuracy how much business that increased advertising spend will generate.