- 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?
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.
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.
Richard Branson’s ABCs Of Business
Throughout the year, the Virgin co-founder shared what he thinks are the essential elements to success.
If there’s one thing Richard Branson knows, it’s how to run a successful business.
Throughout last year, the Virgin founder shared what he thinks are the keys ingredients to building a successful company with each letter of the alphabet, which he slowly revealed through the 365 days.
From A for attitude to N for naivety to Z for ZZZ, check out Branson’s ABCs of success.
How Reflexively Apologising For Everything All The Time Undermines Your Career
How can you inspire confidence if you are constantly saying you’re sorry for doing your job?
I’m one of those weird people who gets excited about performance reviews. I like getting feedback and understanding how I can improve. A few years ago, I sat down for my first annual review as the director of communications for the Florida secretary of state, under the governor of Florida.
I had a great relationship with my chief of staff, but I had taken on a major challenge when I accepted the job a year prior. I didn’t really know what to expect.
Youth takes charge
I was 25 at the time, and everyone on my team was in their thirties and forties. I came from Washington, D.C., and was an outsider to my southern colleagues. I was asking a lot from people who had been used to very different expectations from their supervisor.
I sat down with my chief of staff who gave me some feedback about the challenges I had tackled.
She then paused and said to me, very directly,”But you have to stop apologising. You must stop saying sorry for doing your job.”
I didn’t know what to say. My reflex was to reply sheepishly, “Umm, I’m sorry?” But instead I immediately decided to be more cognisant of how often I said I was sorry. Years later, her words have stuck with me. I have what some may consider the classic female disease of apologising. When the New York Times addressed it, five of my friends and past coworkers sent it to me.
In it, writer Sloane Crosley got to the heart of the issue:
“To me, they sound like tiny acts of revolt, expressions of frustration or anger at having to ask for what should be automatic. They are employed when a situation is so clearly not our fault that we think the apology will serve as a prompt for the person who should be apologising.”
Topic of debate
I’ve talked at length with other women trying to figure out this fine balance. The Washington Post, Time, and Cosmopolitan have all tackled this topic. Some say it’s OK to apologise; others criticise those who are criticising women who apologise. Clearly, I’m not alone in dealing with this issue. In fact, I’m constantly telling the people I manage that by apologising they give up a lot of their power.
Here’s the bottom line: Don’t apologise for doing your job.
If you’re following up with a coworker about something they said they’d get to you earlier, don’t say, “Sorry to bug you!” If you want to share your thoughts in a meeting, don’t start off by saying, “Sorry, I just want to add…” If you’re doing your job, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for.
That’s what I think. And I’m not even sorry about it.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
10 Quotes On Following Your Dreams, Having Passion And Showing Hard Work From Tech Guru Michael Dell
If you’re in need of a little motivation, check out these quotes from Dell’s CEO, founder and chairman.
There’s much to learn from one of the computer industry’s longest tenured CEOs and founders, Michael Dell. As an integral part of the computer revolution in the 1980s, Dell launched Dell Computer Corporation from his dorm room at the University of Texas. And it didn’t take Dell long before he’d launched one of the most successful computer companies. Indeed, by 1992 Dell was the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company.
Dell’s success had been long foreshadowed. When he was 15, Dell showed great interest in technology, purchasing an early version of an Apple computer, only so he could take it apart and see how it was built. And once he got to college, Dell noticed a gap in the market for computers: There were no companies that were selling directly to consumers. So, he decided to cut out the middleman and began building and selling computers directly to his classmates. Before long, he dropped out of school officially to pursue Dell.
Fast forward to today. Dell is not only a tech genius and businessman, but a bestselling author, investor and philanthropist, with a networth of $24.7 billion. He continues his role as the CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies, making him one of the longest tenured CEOs in the computer industry.
So if you’re in need of some motivation or inspiration, take it from Dell.
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