Of all the things I want for my clients, my friends and myself, the thing I want most is success. Success is measured in many ways, Lifestyle, financial success, number of holidays per year… Everyone has their own measuring stick and it is different for different people.  The common factor on the measurement stick is that the measurement units are always numbers.

So success is almost always measured in numbers:  2 houses, 3 cars 4 foreign holidays 5 gold rings and probably a single lonesome partridge in a pear tree. Yes there is a veiled reference in there. Numbers are vital in our society. Number of likes to a Facebook or Instagram post, number of followers on Twitter, even the number of steps we take every day. Everything is measured in numbers.

Business owners and their mentors get caught up in the numbers.

Unique visitors to the website, number of conversions to sale versus number of leads generated. Profit this month or year versus what we did last year and haven’t we all been glued every evening to the latest numbers being announced by Dr Tony Holohan?

Even our children are measured in numbers. How tall are you? How old are you? What class are you in? What mark did you get in the exam?

And of course there are the Lotto numbers every week!

We are, in my opinion too conscious of the irrelevant numbers and unaware of the ones that matter.  Your business is there to provide a lifestyle, the one you want. The business needs to be measurable at a glance, with a few graphs. Having seen the graph there is information that leads to action to duplicate and increase or to change. That is what numbers are for. They are like your business,  a means to an end not an end in itself. If Covid 19: (why does even that need a number? At least with WD40 we know that they failed 39 times before they hit the right formula) Why 19? I don’t know but through the experience of C19 what have we learned? Have we become kinder? More generous? More tolerant or supportive? What scale of numbers measures that?

We have had lockdown for 6 weeks. What has it taught us about business?

It has certainly changed the way many people do business forever. Some people will never go back to the office 5 days a week. Home working is here to stay.

What are you changing? Have your goals changed? Or your values?

I have decided to measure success in smiles, in lives touched – still numbers – in the ability to take one day, one hour,  300 steps towards something I want to achieve or closer to someone I care about. I look forward to receiving thousands of hugs from my children and their children.

We lost the run of ourselves in the tiger years. This hiatus has stopped us even more violently than the crash in 2008. Our children will be paying extra taxes off the loans for a generation. I hope that this time we as a country learn which numbers matter.

The numbers, especially the accounts matter, of course they do. Profit is still the name of the business game and a business owner without an eye on the graph won’t be in business for long. But keep an eye on the other numbers too. The phone number you haven’t dialled for an age or the birthday last week that you forgot and Remember which numbers count.

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