Women in Business - #IWD2017

To celebrate International Women's day on 8th March, Number78 are dedicating the whole of March to all things Womankind.  That's women who inspire us, challenges faced by women in business but also a celebration of the £7.2 billion contribution that 'Mumpreneurs' make to the British economy. 

Back in January we were in London on the day of the Women's March and it was amazing to see so many people - men, women & children, gathered in Trafalgar Square to show their support for women's rights globally.  It was a great atmosphere and a reminder that many things still need to be fought for and against.

Recently at a networking event someone questioned whether women still need to be empowered in this day and age. I don't need to answer that but here at Number78 we're passionate about supporting the women out there running their own businesses.  Whether they are just starting out or facing challenges further down the line, we're here to help them grow.  

We all know the challenges we face on a daily basis, in all sorts of guises but if you do one thing today, it's step back from being your harshest critic and reflect on what you, your fellow woman does day in, day out.   

We'd like to celebrate all the labour - local, global, emotional,  seen, unseen, paid & unpaid that women contribute to our communities and economy.








If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me what a KPI is, I would be a VERY rich woman.

Business talk amongst business people is often full of jargon, acronyms and abbreviations - some of it is useful, TBH most of it is BS - they make the simple appear very complex. 

However ignore KPIs at your peril (I don't mean mortal peril, just that they are extremely useful).

So what exactly is a KPI and how do you use them?

KPI - Key Performance Indicators - in lay terms, all the ways that you measure success in your business.

My Top 10 of why should you measure success (lots of people don't).

1) It's empowering
2) It's motivating
3) It keeps you on track
4) It shows you what's working
5) It shows you what's not working
6) It gives you confidence to try other things
7) It enables you take all the positive potential from mistakes
8) It allows to you set targets & goals that develop your business
9) It ensures that you are able to see the impact of any changes you make
10) Financial measures of success NEVER lie

Let's take that last one.  It's the numbers, not words that tell the story when it comes to business. The facts about your business are in the figures. However else you want to interpret what's going on, your financial information takes all the emotion out and tells it like it is.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.......but how do you use that information?

1st - you record your performance against certain criteria -i.e. you put something in place that is going to help you measure how you're doing - a KPI. e.g. Revenue, profit, operating margin 

2nd-  you look at a variety of things (KPIs) so that you get a broad overview of how your business is doing.

3rd- you measure them regularly 

4th- you review them

5th- you use the results to set yourself future target- eventually this leads to setting budgets.

6th- you keep measuring the same things, year on year so that you can see the trends.

Here's an example - 

Somewhere like a visitor attraction relies on how many people are coming through its doors every year but the amount of visitors can vary wildly from year to year.  Take an Art gallery as an example.  The amount of visitors going to a gallery depends both on its permanent collection and what special exhibitions it has that year. If a gallery has a blockbuster exhibition, something that's going to attract a lot of people I.e a Monet or a Van Gogh, then the visitor numbers go through the roof as does the income from admissions and commercial activity. However, the year that these exhibitions happen are exceptional years and if the gallery measured the success of other years against these exceptional years, on visitors and income alone, then every year would come up short.  Doesn't do much for morale if the target you're chasing is unobtainable. In this situation what they are more interested in is how many of those visitors did they convert into customers, what the average spend was & operating margin.  These types of measures can be measured against other years more relevantly - giving them a more balanced view of business performance.  

The more you use them, the easier they get to interpret.  
The more you know, the more you can do, 
The more you do, the more you're in control, 
The more you're in control, the more calculated risks you can take. 
The more risk, the bigger the rewards.

The beauty about KPIs is that they are bespoke to you - of course there are the standard financial ones that everyone uses and we would advise that - they are the nuts and bolts of your business.  But think about all the other things that you can measure that let's you know how you're doing.  Be creative.

Record how many times you went to a networking event in a month & how many clients did you get.
Record how many clients recommended you.
Record how many times you felt really good about a bit of work you did.
Record how much you used social media
Record when you've learnt something new.

Start small and just record the basics.  As you get more familiar with the process you get more sophisticated.

So next time someone mentions KPI you can say BTW, I'm OK, let's talk ROI!!

If you'd like to chat more about KPI's then give us a shout.  Happy to help. Drop us a line here

The Value of Roadmapping

Anyone who has met us will know that we structure all of what we do around Roadmapping.  We value it so highly that I'd say we're bordering on evangelical about it. It's not usually a word I'd feel proud about using but having a business roadmap will stand you apart from your competition, make you more successful and make you more money. Yes, you read that correctly - make you more money.

If you're in the category of thinking that taking the time out to write down your goals and committing your ambitions to paper isn't worth the effort, then read on.

Harvard Business School is extremely difficult to get into and if you are accepted onto their MBA programme then you'll already be extremely successful and have a very savvy business brain. However, a study showed that 3% of graduates earned a whopping 10 times more than the other 97% combined because they had written down clear, specific goals.

That's a massive return for simply getting your thoughts straight and written up into a plan.

Sounds too simple?  What's the catch?  Honestly, there isn't one. It really is that simple.

The roadmap version we use is a one page document. Doesn't get much more simple than that and to quote Albert Einstein "if you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself".

So what exact!y is a roadmap - well it's not an actual map.

It is -

a summary of what you're activity is going to be over the next year, to reach your end goal or vision

clearly stating how you're going to measure the success of that activity,

what the deadlines are

and who owns the activity. 

Not only is Roadmapping an extremely powerful and useful planning tool, freeing up creative energy by minimising the amount of reactive energy you waste by winging it, it is also a powerful visualisation tool.  By being able to set down your goals and what you need to do to acheive them, is the first step in visualisation.  If you follow that up by creating vivid imagery by imagining those activities going perfectly to plan and rehearsing them in your mind then you're expanding the scope of what's possible, which drives you forward and boosts your confidence. How many times have we faced things for the first time thinking them to be insurmountable only to find with experience that they're not. Confidence and performance through visualisation is well documented, especially in sport.  Sports psychologists have found that visual rehearsals trigger neural firings in the muscles that create a mental blueprint that can ultimately enhance future performance. The roadmap is no different, it is the first step in building that mental blueprint, building your confidence and skill even before you've begun.

Once again, not a bad return for taking some time out to get this stuff sorted. So next time you're saying that you don't have enough time to think ahead or couldn't possibly schedule a few days away from your business to plan it's future because you are far too busy, think again.