Whose metrics are you measuring anyway?

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I was having a chat with Josh recently about a cold pitch I got promising to “double my leads” and I said to him, “OMG, I can’t imagine anything worse!”

To some people that sounds ludicrous, but we’re a small company, and I’m the primary inquiry triage-r, so every “lead” that’s a bad fit or who needs something we don’t offer takes up my time, which means less time to devote to clients, less time to spend creating content like this newsletter, you get the picture. In my ideal world, we’d have just enough inquiries that are the perfect fit and that’s it. I don’t aim to achieve hashtag world domination, my goal is simple: to help people who will connect with our approach and methodology. That’s a pretty narrow pool of people. I realize this is an unpopular position in a world obsessed with #growthhackingbosszerotosevenfiguresmindset (I hope that’s not a real hashtag!), but it’s the truth.

But the reality is that I talk to a lot of folks who are similar. They have intentionally small businesses, with small, tightly-knit teams that work well together providing solutions to a narrow audience. (Company of One is a good read if this is your jam.)

It’s nevertheless easy to fall into the trap of allowing other folks to set their metrics for them. You don’t have to define success by the number of leads, but instead perhaps you define it by the percentage of “right” leads. The thing is, many of the companies who are pitching services are defining your success by what’s going to make them look “successful” and therefore they can turn around and sell other people on their pre-defined metrics.

But I see it over and over again. Clients who’re told by “experts” that they need to meet X metric or else they’re not successful. But there’s no context in those goals. So, the next time someone promises to “make your phone ring off the hook” (shudder), ask them, “Why is that the goal?”

How do you define success? I’d love to hear your story! Just drop a note in the comments or zip me an email!

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