Forget crystal balls. If you want to predict your future income it's time to start having a weekly meeting with yourself. I learned this invaluable technique from Elizabeth Potts Weinstein and she explains it in more detail in her new book Grow Up! Strategies: The 7 Legal & Financial Strategies You Need to Up-Level Your Small Business .
The premise is simple – spend about 15 minutes each week checking to see how your marketing is working now and you'll find out what to expect income-wise over the next couple months. And the best part is you can use the insights to immediately adjust your marketing and CHANGE the future … to prevent a cash crunch or make even more money from a blockbuster marketing campaign.
All you need to do to get started is create a spreadsheet that includes rows for important marketing numbers and columns for each week. While it depends on your business, numbers you may want to look at include:
- Number of inquiries for your services
- Number of new clients for your services
- Number of billable hours worked
- Number of hours spent on marketing
- Amount of invoices sent
- Amount of unpaid invoices
- Number of ezine subscribers
- Ezine open rates
- Click-through rates for links in your ezines
- Unique visitors to your website
- Unique pageviews for your ezine sign-up page and any sales pages
- Number of sales for each key product or service
- Conversion rates (number of opt-ins or sales divided by number of unique pageviews for that page times 100 to get the percentage)
It's also a good idea to take a quick look at all your banking and credit card balances to make sure there are no surprises lurking there.
Overall, keep it simple and focused on the most important numbers for predicting income in your business – after all, this is just supposed to be a 15 minute review. And be flexible, I've added and dropped some of the items I look at as I learned what was a better indicator or added new types of marketing. The point is to just start tracking and reviewing now, so you can start planning better for later!