Monday, August 2, 2010

Signs of the Times

Weather forecasting is a vital science that can determine success or failure for so many different businesses.  For example farmers need to know when to harvest the hay.  Fishermen need to know when a good time is to set out to harvest the fish.

The same goes for all businesses and organisation.  Every business and organisation has it's own peculiar patterns and rhythms.  The key is being unable to understand when the various patterns occur, what causes the patterns to take place and when the pattern can be expected to change.

Here are a few thoughts that will hopefully assist you to forecast what is happening with the "weather" -
  • Sales/income.  Everything hinges on the amount of income being generated.  A subset of this is customers.  Start measuring - new customers vs returning customers.
  • Time.  The more data you have the more power you have.  Creating long term trend lines and charts will help you to see the big picture and understand anomalies such as timing differences that may be seasonal.
  • Relevant data.  You need to measure and understand the industry which you work within.  Understanding an industry or business that is unrelated = a nice hobby but nit much else.
Here are a few indicators we use in education -
  • New students.
  • Existing and returning students.
  • Number of students passing vs number of students failing.
  • Capital investment.
  • Finances.
Measuring and keeping data on the important statistics for your business or organisation is vital to maintain health and vitality.  And if you can;t stay healthy - you can at least dianose where the issues are.

I found this great article written by Gary Collier which also has some brilliant ideas and thoughts in it.

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