Think Beyond Dollars and Cents: a Better Way to Measure Success

Jul 18, 2017, Written by Sue Miley

Measure Success

I often see tears in my clients’ eyes. Yes, business clients. Usually they come in the middle of a story. The stories vary by business owner.

Things like:

  • Joe was in prison for 8 years. We were able to help him with some equipment to start his own business.
  • We were able to help our employees affected by the flood. Some of them lost everything. Being able to help them financially and then ensure that their job was still here, was more than I ever thought we would be able to do.
  • We put Tom in this job because his back is messed up. It isn’t his ideal skill set, but he can still support his family.

I don’t think I have ever had a client tear up over their amazing profits or record sales. They were happy about them, those metrics just don’t create the same deep emotional response.

I am the same way. When a prospective client calls and says that they read my blogs and feel that I am the person God sent to help them, I am amazed and thankful. When a client says, as they are leaving, they feel so much better and always do when they come for our meetings, that is like double the revenue.

And when I am able to help get someone a job, or connect a client to another client to do business together…These moments are magical.

I wish I could say I didn’t track revenue and profits. I wish it didn’t matter. Unfortunately, in order for you or I as a small business owner to be able to impact others in a deeper way, we need to be able to stay in business, support our families, and have resources to help.


Why You Never Feel Satisfied

If all we do is focus on chasing the dollar…we come up short most times. After all, when is it ever enough? We just increase the next goal and increase and increase until we don’t hit it, and then we are unhappy. We can be perfectly profitable, doing great, and miss our goal or last year’s number, and we feel like a failure.

I know you have experienced having an unengaged dissonant employee before, right? Have you ever noticed that no matter what the reason is for their dissonance, it brings the whole team down? One miserable employee can change the feel of your office or business when you walk in- even if you are making a ton of money. 

So I haven’t heard yet a client walk into my office and say: “I have been incredibly blessed with revenues and profits. It is more than enough. I think I just want to give back to my employees, maintain where we are, and enjoy my work.”

Wouldn’t that be awesome.

So why not?

The first part is true for many of you. Yet, you are still stretching for the next rung on the ladder. You have achieved the metrics, but don’t feel satisfied.

I think for some of us, it is what Jesus warns us about. We can’t serve two gods. We can’t try to serve the Lord but be solely focused on profit in our business. Don’t get uptight. I can feel the tension.

When I challenge myself to not worry about the money, I quickly go to the part about supporting my family. I also believe to some extent if I am not growing than I am shrinking and that could quickly become a problem.

A Better Way to Measure Success: Kingdom Metrics

But, then I remind myself about God’s plan. He wants us to care about glorifying him in all we do, including our business.  Usually, what glorifies Him is how we impact people… we love them.  If we try to give every customer the absolute best value for their money, if we try to help our employees and clients along the way, if the people in our circles feel cared for and loved, this is more like the formula that glorifies God….this is what I call Kingdom Metrics.

Kingdom Metrics are for us, not God.  He doesn’t care about quantity like we do.  He doesn’t even care about quality like we do.  He cares about our heart.  Where is our heart when we did this or that for the least of these.  Or did we truly try to bloom where we are planted?

That may mean for your business helping them feel like you care if you get their double non-fat caramel iced latte with 1/2 the syrup exactly right.  It may mean that you have to go back to a service call because you noticed their machine was missing a knob, that you know will make running it easier, even if it isn’t something they requested.  It could mean a client’s son has been looking for work for weeks and you hear about something and get him connected.

We are human though, and we measure.  We measure ourselves and each other.  And ourselves against each other.  That is why I created a measurement tool to go along with the Kingdom Metrics.  I know from experience now that I feel better about my work when I know it is having a positive impact for God’s Kingdom.  It might seem small by the world’s standards, but when we chose to follow Jesus, we told Him we would let go of the world.

We are not going to earn points in heaven with Kingdom Metrics, we can’t even achieve them without God.  But as a Christian business owner that wants to feel like they are making progress towards goals that help others rather than just profits, you may want to think about what those are and track them for a change.

Examples of Kingdom Metrics:

  • providing jobs for more families.
  • donating to charities.
  • letting your team participate in outside volunteer activities.
  • provide encouragement to someone this week.
  • pray with someone or for someone in your work this week.

These are just a few.  What are some other ways you measure your business progress outside of dollars and cents?

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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