For as long as I’ve been in business, I have carefully tracked my numbers. “My numbers” usually included both funds collected as well as business performed. But for the past two years I have been placing my focus on another number. And it has made a world of difference in my business.
I’ve been tracking business booked. The difference between tracking only business billed or collected, and tracking business booked is like the difference between driving while looking just in front of the bumper versus driving while looking 20 yards up the road.
Tracking booked business prevents over-steering. It warns of “pot holes” long before I am upon them. It makes for a much smoother trip.
This change was first suggested to me by Mark LeBlanc, in one of his business-building seminars. And it was worth the price of admission.
It’s not that work performed and funds collected aren’t important. They certainly are. But they are a poor way to steer.
Billing by the hour for a service tends to turn our focus to the amount of time we are doing client work. But my business plan already tells me how many billable hours I need each week to reach my goals. And while I can only pay myself (the main purpose of my sole-proprietor business) from actual funds collected, worrying about funds in the bank tends to create that start/stop, feast/famine business cycle that solo entrepreneurs know all too well.
I have recommended a focus on business booked to many of my clients who own their own service businesses, and they have found it revolutionary. When daily success is measured by booked business, the focus of our actions becomes clearer: our job is to book business. We will manage to do the work for which we’ve been hired — that’s the work we went into business to do in the first place. And of course funds collected count — without money in the bank we can’t pay our bills. But business booked is the number that tells us how things will be weeks and months down the road. It assures us that our going concern will still be going.
A great day is one in which you book your target number. Try setting your sights on booked business and see what a shift is possible in your business.