Hotjar and google analytics are just two of the tools I use to monitor activity to and within my website, a key aspect of my business and how I interact with my clients. However, despite having buckets of data sitting in both, I have been reluctant to look at it.
When you don’t monitor your performance, you don’t have to modify your activity, and you don’t have to face up to the things that are potentially not working. As soon as you put some tools in place and data is available for you to compare actual activity versus your plan, you have to be prepared to accept the facts. Are the facts showing you what you anticipated or are they showing you failure and/or where improvements can be made?
I recently wrote about the issue that arises when you monitor your business with vanity metrics. Every business can fool themselves by collecting and reporting data which makes their business look rosy. However, the only metrics that are worth collecting are those which align with your business goals and enable you to develop your business. The purpose of your metrics or key performance indicators (KPI) is to inform your decision making.
Technology is pretty incredible when it comes to giving us the ability to monitor the performance of our business. As far as anything web-based is concerned, there appears to be a plugin for everything. As a small business in particular, I am confident that the majority of activity that you could possibly want to monitor can be done so in a cost-effective way.
But how many of you have experienced the same fear as me? The fear of sitting down and paying sufficient attention to what your data is telling you. Sometimes you can be so wedded to something working, that you will do anything to divert your attention away from the evidence. Will it show positivity or that something needs to change. And, if something needs to change, are you prepared to accept that and action it?
The reality is that it is never the facts themselves that you fear, but the fear of what the facts are telling you. Could the facts indicate that you are failing?
But what is a failure anyway? Failure is simply a case of something not going to plan or not working. But isn’t it better to find this out before you continue to waste time? Embracing and updating the things in your life that are are not going to plan is how you grow. It is how you grow your business and how you grow as a person. The pace of growth can often be accelerated by a higher rate of failure.
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success”. C. S. Lewis
One of my top tips when it comes to reviewing the facts is to find a friend. This is not a friend who will soft-soap you into believing the world is rosy but someone that can be subjective and ask some questions. Buddy up. Ask someone with some experience of looking at the data that are reviewing who can discuss its validity, ensure you are interpreting the data as intended and can co-create some possible options moving forward. This is a role I undertake as a mentor but team members, peers, colleagues from other teams, board members and similar can all be called upon to help you elicit the facts of any situation.
If failure is good and the facts are what informs success or failure, what is there to fear?