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5 Metrics to Gauge Your Business Performance

September 29, 2016


Sometimes, the most telling numbers in your business are not necessarily on the monthly financial statements. Although the foundation of your finances revolves around the balance sheet and income statement, there are a few numbers that, when known and tracked, can make a huge impact on your business decision-making. Here are five: 

1. Revenue per Employee


Even if you are a solo business owner, revenue per employee can be an interesting number. It’s easy to compute: take total revenue for the year and divide by the number of employees you had during the year. You may need to average the number if you had turnover, or adjust it for part-time employees.


Whether your number is good or bad depends on the industry you are in as well as a host of other factors. Compare it to prior years; is the number increasing (good) or decreasing (not so good)? If it is decreasing you might want to investigate why. It could be that you have many new employees who require training, causing productivity to slip. It could also be that revenue has declined. 

2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank®, you know that CAC is one of the most important numbers for investors. This is how much it costs you in marketing and selling expenses to acquire a new client. Factors such as annual revenue, type of business and lifetime value of a client will affect
how low or high you can allow this number to go. 

3. Cash Burn Rate
How fast do you go through cash? The cash burn rate calculates this for you. Compute the difference between your starting and ending cash balances and divide that number by the number of months it covers. The result is a monthly value. This number is most relevant for startup entities that have not yet shown a profit, as it helps to project the cash the business will need to borrow or raise to fund their venture until it is self-sustaining. 

4. Revenue per Client
Revenue per client is a good measure to compare from year to year. Are clients spending more or less with you, on average, than last year? If less, you may want to investigate the reason. 

5. Customer Retention Rate
If you are curious as to how many customers return year after year, you can compute your client retention percentage. Make a list of all the customers your company had last year. Then create a list of customers who have paid you this year. (You’ll need two full years to be accurate). Merge the two lists. Count how many customers you had in the first year. Then count the customers who paid you money in both years. The formula is: 

Number of customer who paid you in both years