Do you remember that old saying, “a watched pot never boils?” It really is true. We take a pot to the sink, fill it with water, place it on the stove, and turn on the burner. We watch, and wait, and watch and wait until we are certain that nothing is going to happen.

Bored with the business of watching, we leave the room for what seems to be only an instant, returning seconds later to find the water boiling away. Why is that?

The boiling water sneaks up on us because we are ignoring all the other signs that it is about to boil . By only paying attention to the water when it bubbles, we ignore the behaviors that are already present and that enable the water to reach our desired end—a state of boiling.

The practice of boiling water is a bit like growing a business. Although you may not see signs of your end goal at first (a sustainable profit!), there are other signs that you can track to make sure your business is on the road to success.

In the business world these signs are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI). A KPI is a measurable value that indicates how effectively a company is achieving their business objectives or goals. Following are some of the most important markers for measuring the progress of your business.


Customer satisfaction

Regardless of whether you provide a service or a product, the route to success means keeping your customers happy. When you have a happy customer, you’re retaining your customer. It’s a well-known business fact that it’s easier to retain current customers rather than it is to acquire new ones. Although this is not the only affect that customer satisfaction has on your business, it is definitely the most important.

Happy customers also set you apart from the rest of your competition. If customer happiness is a key part of your business goals, you are different from most businesses. The high concern for consumer satisfaction is not only building a loyal customer base, you’re also building a great experience for your customers. Those customers will share that good experience with their friends, leading to even more conversions.

In short, there’s a chance for a good “word of mouth” reputation and a bad “word of mouth” reputation. Great treatment of your customers will earn you the first one, every time. And believe me, you don’t want your customers spreading bad tidings about your service or your product.

People listen to each other when it comes to recommending businesses and services. Your best business card lives in the mouth of your customers as they describe their experience with your company. Although a company may misrepresent its services, a customer will usually be honest with his or her feedback.   And we want the good feedback for your company—always.

When you create happy customers, you’re not only building a loyal customer base, you’re building a great customer experience. And those loyal customers wills share their news of their great experience with others.

In short, there’s good word of mouth and bad word of mouth. The news about your business will spread from person to person, so it’s best if the words about you and your business are positive.


Quality and quantity

For businesses to perform well, each product and service has to meet an internal quality standard. Each process for making or creating your product or service should be examined to ensure that it is as effective and as streamlined as possible. Keeping processes streamlined goes a long way to keeping costs down, and it also acts as a parameter for standardizing the quality of the process itself.

You can’t have one without the other. A quality product cannot be created without a standardized process to maintain that level of quality. It’s a definite quid pro quo.

It’s also a good idea to establish a process that consistently checks your product or service throughout the production process. With this type of check and balance system in place, you’ll always be on top of your game.

To be continued –The Great Lessons of Boiling Water – Part 2