In business, as in sports, NUMBERS matter!

Are you keeping score?

In business, as in sports, NUMBERS matter!

Have you ever been to a sporting event, be it a community event or a professional sporting event?

Last month I was at the Calgary Rugby Park watching the Prairie Wolf Pack host the Atlantic Rock in the Canadian Rugby Championships.

Both teams played hard and lived up to the culture and spirit of the game with beautiful passes, deep corner kicks, high up-and-unders and of course bone crushing tackles. It was a fantastic game to watch.

The Rock opened up the scoring first, then the Wolf Pack. Over the next 77 minutes of an 80-minute game, the play was nothing short of exhilarating. The Rock maintained the lead throughout the game, the Wolf Pack never seemed to be phased by this and were only ever a few points behind… and whenever the Wolf Pack would score and close the gap, the Rock would counter and reopen the lead.

From a coach’s perspective, this game must have been very frustrating to watch. Neither team was safe – anything could happen. One mistake here, a bad pass there, and the other team would capitalise and score. By no means was either team guaranteed a win.

The last three minutes of the game were the most intensive of all with the home crowd’s attention fixed on two things – one, the Wolf Pack… and two, the clock and scoreboard.

The Wolf Pack were trailing the Rock by just 3 points (26 to 29) and they had possession of the ball in their own half of the field. All the Wolf Pack had to do was go forward, attack and above all, maintain ball possession. The Wolf Pack could conceivably win the game with a 5 point “try”.

2 minutes remaining on the clock

All eyes are on the players and the scoreboard. You could just feel the commitment and hunger in the Wolf Pack as they seemed to find another gear and intensify their play – they were so close.

As for the Rock, they were hungry too. They recently lost to the Wolf Pack, the first time ever, on their home pitch in New Foundland. The Rock was all too willing to return the favour and stone the Wolf Pack on their Calgary pitch.

1 minute remaining on the clock.

The Wolf Pack continue to pressure the Rock looking for gaps in their massive 15 man defence but the Rock are holding fast. The Wolf Pack were slowing moving up field, still inside their own 50-metre however mentally they remained confident, knowing that a simple error by the Rock like a missed tackle or an overlapping pass would be all the Wolf Pack needed to penetrate the Rocksdefencee and the Wolf Pack could break away and score.

All eyes are now on the clock and the scoreboard… 5 seconds to go…

Zero seconds left on the clock, the game is now at full time and the Wolf Pack continue to maintain ball possession. Even though time has expired, as long as the game is in play, the referee allows the play to continue.

The Wolf Pack continue to attack and hammer the Rock’s stone walled defense hoping to draw in as many fatigued Rock defenders as possible, looking for a quick recycling of the ball… but as quick as the Wolf Pack take the ball into contact, a Rock defender is able to steal the ball out of the ruck and now the Rock have possession.

All eyes are on the clock, the Wolf Pack and the Rock.

The Rock begin to counter attack the Wolf Pack inside the Wolf Pack’s 50 metres. The Wolf Pack are up for the challenge and with fierce commitment the stop the Rock’s attack with one crushing defensive tackle after another…

The Rock realize there is no use in looking for more points… they’re up by three, the clock has expired and without hesitation the Rock kick the ball off the pitch allowing the referee to blow the whistle, signifying the official end of the match.

The Atlantic Rock 29. The Prairie Wolf Pack 26.

Both teams battled incredibly strong and played the game they love so much with pride, commitment and honour.

The athlete’s of both teams left every ounce of energy, sweat, and yes… even a little blood… out on the pitch. It was an exciting game for the fans to experience and watch… and with that, the fans rise and clap both teams off the pitch.

My question for all business owners and office leaders… regardless if you have a team of one or a team of many…

Imagine if you lead your staff like  sports coaches lead their team of athletes. Imagine if you lead your business like a General Manager leads a team.

Are you keeping score in your business? Are you measuring the numbers, the right numbers in your business?

  • Instead of measuring the number fans in the stands, you’re measuring the number of calls or walk-ins that come into your store.
  • Instead of tackles missed or made, you’re measuring efficiencies in labour.
  • Instead of measuring successful passes, you’re measuring the number of visits or phone calls it takes to secure appointments booked.
  • Instead of measuring how many phases of play it takes to achieve points scored, you’re measuring how many steps in your sales process it takes to earn a new customer.
  • Instead of measuring the season’s wins and losses, you’re measuring customer service, customer satisfaction scores and above all, customer retention.

Lastly, know the most important business numbers of all…

1. Your Cost of Goods Sold as a percentage of revenue
2. Your Expenses (both variable and fixed) as a percentage of revenue
3. Your Net Income as a percentage of revenue

It’s absolutely critical that you and your business look at these three numbers every month. Not annually, not every six months, not quarterly. Wrong. Every month. Every MONTH. EVERY MONTH. Get the picture?

If clocks, player stats and scoreboards matter to you when you watch or coach sports, then it only makes sense that these numbers matter in your business as well.

After all, are you playing recreational business or competitive business?