If you ask a franchisee what helps them set their priorities, you’ll probably get a few different answers. Franchisor expectations, customer wants, and greater profitability are commonly cited answers. The problem with these answers is that they are reactive reasons: the franchisee makes them based on an outside force acting upon them. Instead of being in control of their own ship, their direction is set for them based upon which way the wind blows. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – all of these are valid reasons for having certain priorities in the first place. The problem with these kinds of priorities, however, is that as your business matures, its growth will become hampered if your priorities are always determined by somebody else.

What if instead you decided what your priorities are? What if, instead of letting somebody else tell you what your goals should be, you set your own goals by using the facts given to you? Business owners who chart their own business’ course make use of what are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are metrics of your business that you are able to act upon and proactively change. Tracking how many customers you have is not a KPI – it is a result, not a driver of your business.

By making use of KPIs, you reap a whole new set of benefits and gains that you can’t have under a reactive goal system.

1. You gain complete mastery over your finances

KPIs commonly include goals like average dollars per sale, profit margins, and the number of times clients buy from you. Being able to increase these metrics requires you to understand the full nature of your cash flow and product margins, as well as have a fleshed out balance sheet and income statement. Your future actions will be tied back to these indicators, which in turn will keep you completely informed as to what it going on at any point of the day, week, month, or year.

2. You become more receptive to your customers

Another common KPI is a satisfaction index – how much did customers enjoy doing business with you, and how much did they like what you were selling? Turning one-time customers into repeat customers is one of the most powerful goals you can set. Your sales will increase, you will hire additional people, customer satisfaction goes up, and your overall profits will go up by an appreciable amount. Increasing your other KPIs forces you to tune into what your customers really want, and that could mean the difference between failure and success.

3. Your team will move with you

Think of a wave at a beach. Do all the individual water molecules move whichever way they please? Of course not. The waves that you see on a beach occur because the water moves in cohesion, not disorganized chaos. Your team’s flow works much the same way. Without a clear set of directions and goals, your team will not be able to contribute value to the business, and you won’t enjoy the benefits of a productive team. Productivity is another common KPI, but meeting the goal that you set for it requires you to meet the goals for your other KPIs.

When you create KPIs, you set a challenge for your team – and that includes you. You set the course of your ship, and your employees will respond accordingly. If there are no plans and goals, there is no direction. Having KPIs mean that you run your business, and in a proactive way. Stick to these goals and exceed them, and you’ll be amazed at the transformation your bottom line will experience.

ActionCOACH, the world’s largest business coaching firm, was established and founded in Brisbane, Australia by Brad Sugars in 1993 when the concept of business coaching was still in its infancy. Since franchising the company in 1997, ActionCOACH has grown to more than 1000 business coaching franchises operating in 73 countries. ActionCOACH specializes in coaching small to medium sized businesses as well as executive teams and group coaching. ActionCOACH maintains its growth and strategic alliances by continual development of cutting-edge innovative technology, proven business processes and systems to add value, satisfaction and additional income streams for its franchisees.