What the hell are feedback loops?
Regular, business-wide feedback loops are paramount in monitoring the success of any business initiative. Observing processes will allow managers to support new ideas, keep them on track, and make mid-course corrections as needed. Although business functions will remain largely unchanged, monitoring those functions will be of increased importance. The company will also collect relevant data to ensure the accuracy of target marketing efforts, quality control, and financial benchmarks are being met (Mullins, Walker & Boyd, 2013).
In micro-businesses, the primary and most tangible feedback loop is the company’s bank account. In order to monitor the bottom line, monthly sales metrics must be examined. This basic function of business is one which I have certainly been guilty of not keeping an eye on personally, and I think it is simply because I’ve gotten so weighed down with trying to stay on top of the dozens of other things that micro-business owners find themselves handling on a daily basis. Every now and then though, I’ve got to take it back to basics.
Basic figures including number of service tasks performed, volume and category of widgets sold must be tallied monthly to ensure that trends – both positive and negative – are appreciated in a timely manner. It’s not enough to simply gather data; the figures then need to be compared to the prior data in order to determine changes. In seasonal businesses, comparing fresh data from the corresponding month or week from a prior year will be the only way to truly ascertain whether business has increased or decreased relative to established history.
Obviously we are all watching the bank account. There have been plenty of times when I want to purchase a new product for us to carry, or I want to spend a bit more on an advertising push, but I haven’t been able to because we just don’t have the cash on hand. But remembering the underlying reason for the low balance I’m seeing isn’t always a natural next step. By taking the time to go back and take a hard look at how we’re doing in various categories, I can determine where we need to focus – or pull back – our efforts.
Mullins, John, Walker, C, O., Boyd, Jr., W, H. (2013). Marketing Management: A Strategic Decision-Making Approach, 8th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/0077769473/