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Business Growth For SweepSouth Means Metric Measurement

Growth takes work, and that means finding and measuring the metrics that will move your business forward.

Nadine Todd

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SweepSouth

Vital Stats

  • Players: Alen Ribic and Aisha Pandor
  • Company: SweepSouth
  • Past skills: Software developer and researcher (with a PhD in human genetics)
  • Launched: 2014
  • Visit: sweepsouth.com

Why have metrics been so important for the growth of your business?

We believe metrics should be at the heart of every growth strategy. As a researcher Aisha’s background was lab work, using the principles of process engineering. You experiment and then measure your results against your expected outcomes.

When we launched SweepSouth we approached data in the same way. This is a data-driven technology platform for ordering, managing and paying for home cleaning services online that matches cleaners with clients; it’s a completely different industry, but the process of tracking data holds true.

What do you attribute successes and failures to if you don’t know what you’re measuring, or the outcomes that you’re looking for?

Related: Bankrupt And Dreams In Tatters: How Sheree O’ Brien’s Self-Belief Drove Her To Success

Where should businesses start?

That’s very dependent on the company and its industry, but customer feedback is always a good place to start. Data is just information. Too many business owners and managers see it as intimidating. It’s not.

Just start with something — one small unit of measurement. Once you’ve got that, build on it. You’ll be amazed at what you can do and the decisions you can make once you have data at your fingertips. Information is power.

Is there a right way and a wrong way to collect data?

The main thing is to use it appropriately for your business’s lifecycle. We launched with an MVP, so our early data points were related to refining our product. Now we measure different things that will help us grow the business. It’s easy to get blindsided by plans and ideals.

I don’t believe we are unique in our propensity to overcomplicate things without stopping and listening to feedback. You need to take the time to stop and listen to your customers. If you look at the overall data available to you, is what you’re doing satisfying goals and projections?

How do you determine what you should be measuring?

You need to know your business and what your ‘north star’ is. What’s important to you? What will drive business growth? For us, how many bookings we receive per month is important.

We break this down into new and returning customers; returning customers indicate how well our service providers perform on a customer satisfaction level, while new customers reveal how well our marketing and sales efforts are working. Both are important metrics.

Related: What The Concept Phase Really Means To Alex Van Tonder

How do you stay focused?

This goes back to knowing what your north star is, and then being ruthless in sticking to it. We encourage healthy debate in our organisation.

New employees in particular are able to look at how we do things with fresh eyes and make valuable suggestions, but then everything gets evaluated according to our north star. This lets us know what we are measuring the idea against. Will it impact this key area? If it won’t, we don’t put focus and energy into it.

How have metrics improved your business?

Most notably by showing us that we shouldn’t presume to know what our customers want. Our first algorithm had customers picking a date for their cleaning service.

Carefully monitoring how the site was used revealed an important detail about customer behaviour that we had missed. Many users would switch dates if it meant getting a specific cleaner. Initially, this wasn’t an option, and so people would leave the site and try again later.

Adjusting the algorithm to allow them to find when a cleaner was available upped our returning customers. It was such an important discovery, and all because we measure metrics.

These matches are really based on asking the right questions, so we are refining those all the time as well. Because of this, we keep tracking the success of what we’re doing. We never take anything for granted. It’s an internal mantra of the business to assume we can keep doing things better — and then finding a way to do it.

Lessons Learnt

7 Pieces Of Wise Advice For Start-Up Entrepreneurs From Successful Business Owners

Launching a business is tough, but with perseverance, a willingness to learn from mistakes and a focus on the future, you can turn your dream into a reality. Seven top South Africa entrepreneurs share their hard-won start-up lessons.

Nadine Todd

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“What seems like an expensive lesson is actually the best thing that could have happened to you.” 

So you want to start a business? Seven successful entrepreneurs share their words of wisdom for start-up entrepreneurs

1. Offer advice and share your expertise freely

The more your clients are educated, the more empowered they will feel, and the more they will view you as a trusted advisor. I gave my clients material to help them develop the best labour policies and procedures. It didn’t make my service redundant — it built trust between us. — Arnoux Mare, Innovative Solutions Group, turnover R780 million

2. Stop planning and start doing

We all tend to complicate business with planning and processes. These shouldn’t be ignored, but you need to also just start — start your business, start that project, start walking the path you want to be on. — Gareth Leck, co-founder, Joe Public, turnover R700 million

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

3. Play your heart out and the money will follow

I learnt this valuable lesson when I was a student and busked at Greenmarket Square. You don’t stand with your hat, waiting for cash and then play — you play your heart out and the bills pile up in your hat. It’s the same in business. You can’t look at the bottom line first; it’s the other way around. — Pepe Marais, co-founder, Joe Public, turnover R700 million

4. Love learning lessons

What seems like an expensive lesson is actually the best thing that could have happened to you. I wasn’t paying attention to my partner or my books in our early days, and I didn’t realise the debt he was putting us into. We ended up owing R1 million. In hindsight, it was a cheap lesson to learn. Imagine if that happened today? The fallout would be much greater. We have 19 stores and nearly 100 staff members. It would hurt everyone, not just me. — Rodney Norman, founder, Chrome Supplements, turnover R100 million

5. Landing an investor starts with your story

A great story and data are the two golden rules of attracting an investor. You need both if you really want to access growth funding that will take your business to the next level. — Grant Rushmere, founder, Bos Ice Tea

Related: Watch List: 15 SA eCommerce Entrepreneurs Who Have Built Successful Online Businesses

6. Offer solutions

If you’re not solving a problem and creating value, don’t ship it — throw it away. That’s cheaper than selling a bad product. — Nadir Khamissa, co-founder, Hello Group

7. Small, clever decisions lead to big profits

One of the most important lessons any business owner can learn is that success on profit is nothing more than the accumulative sum of rand decisions. Lots of small, clever money decisions lead to big profits, and without the disciplines of frugality, money gets lost. It’s that simple. Question every single line item on a quote. Do we need it? Can we get it cheaper? This is what it’s about. — Vusi Thembekwayo, founder, Watermark

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Lessons Learnt

Here’s How Bosses From Hell Helped 6 Entrepreneurs Grow

From control freaks to being unco-operative, founders share what they learned from their worst boss.

Entrepreneur

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In business, sometimes the most valuable lessons come from the worst teachers. We asked six entrepreneurs: What’s the greatest thing you learned from a bad boss?

1. Bring everyone in

“A former boss was very hierarchical and discouraged collaboration. Everyone reported directly to her, and interdepartmental meetings were practically prohibited. It meant that only our boss had the full picture – we missed a lot of opportunity for alignment and cooperation. Today at our company, it’s a priority to hold regular team meetings and foster a strong culture of collaboration. It’s crucial that our team members weave collective sharing into the fabric of their day-to-day interactions.” – Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and CEO, Indagare

2. Be vulnerable

“Don’t be afraid to show your emotions! I worked for a partner at McKinsey who was an incredible person but an awful manager because he kept his feelings bottled up. After a client presentation went awry, our team didn’t know where we stood with our manager. It was tense, awkward and demotivating. Showing vulnerability and letting others know when you’re genuinely upset can help everyone externalise their emotions, build trust and reassure employees that they aren’t alone. It sends a clearer message than stone-faced silence.” – Leo Wang, founder and CEO, Buffy

Related: 5 Factors That Make A Great Boss

3. Lend a hand

“I worked for someone who would never help out the junior staff with their work, even if he was finished with his own – he’d simply pack up and leave early. I now make an extra effort to ask my staff if they can use a hand when my own workload is light. It’s created a culture that feels more like a tight-knit team and less like a hierarchy.” – Adam Tichauer, founder and CEO, Camp No Counselors

4. Move as a group

“When I was a nurse manager, I had a boss with no experience in healthcare. She wanted to change our process for keeping patients from getting blood clots. I knew it was a mistake, but she insisted. Ultimately, the change failed. It taught me the importance of empowering staff to speak up. At Extend Fertility, we collect feedback from customers via surveys. Results are shared with our staff, and together we develop action plans to address negative experiences. It’s the employees who interact with patients on a daily basis who have the best solutions.” – Ilaina Edison, CEO, Extend Fertility

5. Trust your team

“I once worked for a woman who joined our team after I had been working there for a while. Every time I stood up, she’d ask me where I was going, whether it was to the bathroom or to the printer. She had a fear of not having control over my time and work. As a young adult, this behaviour really demoralised me, especially since I had excelled at the job for years prior. My leadership style is less neurotic. Once my team members have my trust, I’m pretty hands-off.” – Denise Lee, founder and CEO, Alala

Related: 5 Leadership Questions Every Boss Should Ask

6. Respect others’ time

“Early in my career, I had a project manager who’d wait until the very last minute to review work, then convey lots of new information and requests. This happened at the end of the day or, worse, after hours, when I was home. It was demoralising, inefficient and disrespectful. In my career, I’m conscious about reviewing work in a timely and complete way so my team can successfully incorporate my feedback without generating a last-minute crisis – or lingering resentment.” – Kirsten R. Murray, principal architect and owner, Olson Kundig 

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Lessons Learnt

11 Things Very Successful People Do That 99% Of People Don’t

Consistency is a big part of succeeding. The top 1% of performers in the world know this is the secret to their success.

John Rampton

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successful-entrepreneurs

Becoming wealthy and leaving an impact on the world is not an easy feat. If it were, everyone would go around doing it. At that point, it would not be much of an accomplishment at all.

Rather, being extremely successful requires an extreme amount of work. Especially when there is nobody looking. The best people have developed habits that help them reach their goals. These routines are not necessarily challenging to form, but they take consistent effort over extended periods of time. Creating these tendencies in your own life will propel your success.

Here are 11 things, that 99% of people (myself included) do not do, but really should.

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