A well-known secret: the numbers of business

Would you like to know something that’s not really a secret? I love business. Pouring through P&L statements, desiccating sales figures, and analyzing data… ah, that’s where it’s at. I tell you, I love it.

It wasn’t always this way. During my tenure in community outreach, events management and client relations I discovered what my mother always intoned: it’s a great game. In fact, Jack Welch, former head of GE, mentions this often in his book, Winning. I’ve spoken much about the human, personal element of business; but let me say also that the numbers element of business is key. Data can help us to see through our emotions and preconceived prejudices. Data can help us to discover missed opportunities. Data can help us to clean up our processes. It’s a great game.

Granted, it seems I spend more time discussing the personal side of business (recognize that phrase from my blog subtitle?), because it’s the step that we most often skip. But we should never leapfrog past the study of business – it’s far too vital. After all, we must first learn how to swing a bat before we can challenge the homerun records.

Dig in:
* During this economic climate, how many more organizations have I heard who are digging in, managing their supply chain more closely to increase efficiencies and reduce cost?

* In preparing a bid for a client, I dug in, also researching an estimated bid from my competitor and discovering a mistake in their calculations. I won the bid, both due to my service and the substantial savings I offered.

* There was a foundation development manager who dug in to the data of their luncheon fundraisers, discovering large donors who’d been lost because their table captain had relocated and the organization itself had not maintained the relationship.

* And conversely, there was the business owner who loved her product but hadn’t dug in to understand the market. She knew her customers who were similar to herself, but she hadn’t conducted a demographic study of those potential customers she was missing. And her business struggled.

When it works well, business encourages – it demands – us to innovate in order to meet the needs of our customers, whether they’re clients, constituents, or partners.

It’s a great game.

Comments

  1. I'm a P&L junkie myself, and now find the google analytics fascinating. I would add that one should never discount the "small clients" or "small jobs" in business. These can often turn into large opportunities down the line and fill in revenue in between the big gigs.

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  2. Thanks for sharing, Julie.

    Yes, I agree - in fact, statistics will often support the cultivation and support of "small" clients.

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