KPIs. Key Performance Indicators. That’s a good alt-rock band name. More relevantly, it’s also essential for the success of any business, big or small.

And just like most essential things – like your stock market investments, or the colour of your curtains – you have to make sure that you’re making the right choice out of the vast amount of possibilities. And really, all said and done, nobody can really tell you what your choice should be, because it’s ultimately down to what suits you as an individual. You can describe your house’s layout and your personal tastes as much as you want; ultimately, if you only pick the beige curtains because someone else told you to, there’s a good chance that there’s something about it that just won’t go with the wallpaper.

That said, you’ve got some heavy choices ahead of you; and as long as you can keep in mind that we’re talking generally here, there are a few things that might point you in the right direction in regards to which KPIs your business ought to focus on.

Are they directly related to your business goals?   
Really, KPIs, when you think of it, are just yardsticks indicating how far you’ve progressed toward the fulfilment of your business’s goals. So, needless to say, when you’re picking those yardsticks, you’d better make sure they’re pointing in the right direction.

In brief: when you’re picking KPIs, they’d better lined up with your business goals.

Less is more
If there’s one thing running a business has taught anyone, it’s that useful resources don’t necessarily become more useful just by heaping them up. When it comes to KPIs – well, the important word there is “key”. And, well, you really can’t have too many keys. Nobody likes a tangled keychain.

In short, when picking your KPIs, even after you’ve considered which ones line up with your business goals, odds are you’ll still have a whole lot to choose from. Don’t overdo it. As with most important choices, you might want to shove in everything that seems important; but once you do that, nobody’s going to be able to give any of them the attention they deserve. You’d do yourself a favour by, instead, focusing on between four and ten indicators. Sure, your ultimate goals and aims for your business can’t simply be summed up by a handful of metrics; but careful selection will allow you, and your colleagues and employees, to give these indicators the attention and mindfulness they deserve.

How to Choose the Right KPIs for Your BusinessWhat is your company’s stage of growth?
Companies grow up. And as we grow up, our priorities change.

A young company is like a starry-eyed twenty-somethinger who backpacks across Europe and joins political splinter groups as they go through the miraculous process of discovering and building their personal identities. In this time of its life, a company should focus on metrics that assist it in its efforts to build its identity as a brand and a business.

A more matured company, meanwhile, more like a middle-aged, worldly-wise individual who’s come to realise that the best way to help yourself is by making friends and earning favours – and to do that, well, you’ve got to keep folks happy. Companies at this stage of their life should focus on KPIs that help them fine-tune exactly how they might most effectively please customers and clients.

Make sure that you understand the different KPIs
There’s really no numbering of all the different KPIs a company could choose to focus on; and as mentioned, we most certainly can’t pick ‘em for you – any business worth its salt is going to be far too unique for us to do any remote diagnostics.

It’s down to you – and you’ve got a lot to consider. There’s plenty of standard KPIs in various industries to get you started; but your company isn’t a generic no-namer. It has a brand, and it’s a brand that needs to shape itself. Your company deserves to be shaped by carefully selected KPIs – the sort of KPIs that nobody but you could choose.

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