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How KPIs and metrics can transform SMEs


Recent research from the Wellington Centre of Business Excellence identified the key obstacles that hinder SME business owners from achieving success.

It highlights five crucial factors that keep business owners up at night:

  1. Know your numbers – One of the primary challenges faced by SMEs is a lack of understanding of their financial and non-financial numbers. Without a clear direction and a strategic vision, business owners can find themselves aimlessly wandering, unsure of where they are headed. Imagine driving from Wellington to Auckland without a map – you could end up anywhere. To overcome this hurdle, it’s essential to know and monitor your financial and non-financial metrics to gain a clear understanding of your business’s performance.

  2. Strategic direction: Many entrepreneurs enter the business world with enthusiasm and a desire to generate income quickly. However, focusing solely on paying the bills and making ends meet can hinder long-term success. It is crucial to establish a clear strategic direction for your business, one that goes beyond immediate financial needs. Without a strategic plan in place, your business might struggle to thrive and grow.

  3. Marketing and acquiring clients: Marketing to and acquiring clients is fundamental to the success of any business. However, many SMEs struggle in this area. Attracting and retaining customers in a competitive market requires effective marketing strategies and consistent efforts to stand out.

  4. Talent Management: In a market with a labour shortage, it becomes even more critical to develop effective marketing strategies to attract and retain customers. Talent management is also vital, as building winning teams can significantly affect the growth and success of your business.

  5. Operational efficiencies: Efficiency and effectiveness in delivering goods or services are essential for SMEs. Being consistent in your operations, keeping costs down, and ensuring quality are crucial factors that contribute to long-term success. By focusing on operational efficiencies, you can enhance your business’s overall performance and reputation.

The power of KPIs and metrics

Now, let’s dive deeper into the importance of KPIs and metrics. Without these vital tools, businesses face three significant challenges.

• Firstly, a lack of insight into the overall performance and health of the business. KPIs and metrics provide a clear understanding of what is happening and act as a scorecard for measuring success. They enable you to make necessary adjustments and improvements.

• Secondly, making decisions based on gut feelings and guesswork rather than data-driven insights can lead to poor decision-making. By implementing robust KPIs and metrics, you can make informed decisions that drive your business forward.

• Lastly, without proper measurement tools, businesses miss out on growth opportunities. Allocating resources effectively and making strategic decisions becomes challenging without a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Good KPIs and metrics enable businesses to optimise their performance, increase agility, and boost confidence in decision-making.

Implementing effective KPIs and metrics

To ensure successful implementation of KPIs and metrics, three key factors come into play.

 First, relevance and alignment are crucial. Identify the key metrics that align with your potential issues and respond promptly.

 Regular review is equally important. KPIs and metrics should be reviewed frequently, ideally weekly. This enables you to stay on top of your business’s performance, make necessary adjustments, and seize opportunities for growth.

 Finally, data visualisation is essential. A simple dashboard that displays your key metrics can provide a clear snapshot of your business’s performance. Consider incorporating metrics such as leads, conversion rates, average dollar sale, margin, and gross profit dollars per person per period. A well-designed dashboard can help you make data-driven decisions and increase overall efficiency.


Incorporating effective KPIs and metrics into your business strategy is crucial for achieving long-term success. By understanding your numbers, establishing a strategic direction, mastering marketing and acquiring clients, and focusing on operational efficiencies, you can drive your business forward. Implementing relevant and aligned KPIs, regularly reviewing performance, and utilising data visualisation tools will empower you to make informed decisions and optimise your business’s overall performance.

Remember, success lies in the details, and KPIs and metrics provide the roadmap to reach your business goals. Start implementing these practices today and watch your business thrive.

If you don’t know the numbers in your business, the chances are good you can’t “keep score”!




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How KPIs and metrics can transform SMEs




Focus, accountability and mentoring are the keys to unlocking your future and building a better business. If you want to do things differently and better, book a free 30-minute consultation to see what in my 25+ years in business can shift the dial for you.
Call: 022 2332 669 




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