Eighth Inning – Business and Baseball: Review the Statistics

Baseball StatsHidden in the announcer’s booth at every baseball game, is someone charged with a very special job: Watching each and every pitch thrown, ball hit, and play made, and recording it all in the official scorebook. Each ball, each strike, each walk, each steal, all duly accounted for in the scorekeeper’s book. Then, after the game, the scorekeeper calculates statistics: batting average, earned-run average, slugging percentage, and a host of other mind-numbingly-precise details.

Not only do these statistics give the announcers something to talk about during the inevitable lulls in the game (“This batter is 2-for-3 against left-handed pitchers with a “Q” in their last name!”), they also provide invaluable information for the coaches, the players, and the team (business) owners themselves. The stats are reviewed and rehashed, posted and celebrated or decried. Statistics matter in baseball.

They matter in business, too – big business or small business. Knowing that a certain outlet is bringing in the bulk of your sales, or that a particular product’s appeal has dropped off significantly, or that one sales page is doing twice the business another is, are all valuable bits of information. Sure, an entrepreneur can get lost in the numbers, but there are a few basics business owners must track on a regular basis:

  • Site visits/page views/unique visitors. How many people come to your site – or store? How many pages do they view? How long do they stay? Do they come back?
  • Conversions. When they visit, brick and mortar or click and order, do they take the action you desire, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for your mailing list, or asking to be contacted?
  • Total sales and total expenses. How much are you bringing in, and how much are you spending – in other words, are you profitable?
  • Referrers. Where are your visitors coming from – who is sending you traffic, online or in your office/store, and why?

If you don’t do business online, the same general topics can be tracked for any business, from the smallest home based business to large manufacturers and retailers. Instead of site visits, you may track the number of people who come into your store or who call your toll free number, and what percentage of those calls actually turn into orders. You can track total sales and expenses, and what brought the visitor into the store (billboard, radio ad, referral from a friend, etc.).

But tracking these statistics isn’t enough, just as knowing that your clean-up batter always walks the first time up in a home game isn’t enough. You have to DO something with that knowledge, and review it again and again, looking for patterns and trends. You need to know as much about your business as those color announcers know about the home team – and they have all those recorded statistics to back them up, just as you do.

That’s where success lies.

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