Are You Sure Your Business Is Doing Okay?

Guest Author: Elizabeth Weinstein

It’s easy to get out of sync with the day-to-day and week-to-week status of our businesses. But if you lose touch with the immediate status of your company, you will not be aware of problems, especially in your sales and marketing funnel, until they are expensive & time-consuming to fix.

One method of keeping in touch with your business is to use historical reports. Historical reports are the snapshot of how your business is doing today, both objectively and compared to how it was doing last month, last quarter, or last year. The secret is that historical financial reports are just the first step — you also need historical figures about your marketing and sales to effectively manage your cash flow.

Weekly Marketing Snapshot – Promotion & Sales Report

The most important historical report you will analyze is your promotion & sales report, which may also be called a Marketing Snapshot or Flash Report. Why? This report will tell you how much money you are going to make next week, next month, and next year. And, this information will show you a problem before it begins — when it is much easier to fix than when income stops coming into your checking account.

The exact information contained in the report depends upon the type of marketing and services or products you provide, but the principle is the same. This report tracks the status of each step of your marketing and sales cycle so you can see the problems before they start.

Likely, this report will not be prepared by your bookkeeper but will be prepared by your virtual assistant, marketing assistant, or yourself.

What can your Promotion & Sales Report include?

* Amount of traffic to website(s) – unique visitors, referral sources, time, pages, what pages visitors were on when they left your site.
* Number of inquiries by phone, email, or mail.
* Number of people on your contact list, in the form of your newsletter/eZine, email, traditional mail, contacts, friends on websites, RSS subscriptions (blogs, podcasts).
* Number of new leads, complementary consultations, bids, proposals made or scheduled.
* Number of products sold, by type.
* Conversion ratios: website to list, list to sale, consultation/bid/proposal to sale, sale to up-sell or subsequent sales.
* Average sales price for each sale, broken down by category if appropriate.
* Number of press contacts, inquiries, quotes, or interviews.
* Number of articles posted, blog comments made, letters or emails written, calls made.
* Number of referrals given and received.
* Return on Investment for each promotional or marketing campaign (ROI = value of inquiries or sales divided by the amount spent on campaign, calculated by dollar or time).

You will not use all of these categories — these are examples of what may be important for your particular business. The idea is that this report includes statistical information about how every potential client or customer comes into your business, and every step along the way to the sale.

This article was taken from Grow Up! Strategies: The 7 Legal & Financial Strategies You Need to Up-Level Your Small Business.

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