Do not ignore the positive signals of progress in your business
Capture the good stuff so that you can refer back to it when times get tough, as they undoubtedly will.
This post was inspired by my marketing mentor, Mark Schaefer.
- Preamble – why this matters
- The positive signals spreadsheet
- Tab 1: Signals
- Tab 2: Metrics
- My real metrics
- 9 Spokes – a free dashboard
- Another way to track positive mentions
- Let’s wrap up
Preamble – why this matters
The human brain is weird: you can instantly forget a positive comment but have your day ruined by a negative one.
When it comes to business, we all have dark periods.
My daughter was 3 months old when I was made redundant in 2009 – and I couldn’t get a job interview much less a job.
I didn’t dwell on that. Instead, I focused on what I could do to help myself. I decided that I was smart enough to start my own writing business – and I’m still at it many years later.
The best entrepreneurs are the people who don’t dwell on the negatives but instead focus on how they can build on the positives. They assess the path they’re on and do whatever they can to keep inching along the road.
Rather than letting negatives hold you back, it’s important to ask yourself a question:
Is my business moving in the right direction?
There are probably lots of ways and countless books out there on how to be a successful entrepreneur. This post is all about paying attention to the positive signals.
Recognise and write down all the positive signals of progress in your business.
I’ve been doing this since summer 2016, ever since I was introduced to the idea by my marketing mentor, Mark Schaefer. And it’s been a great help in keeping me on the right track.
It’s all about maintaining your focus on a plan that works and not allowing yourself to be distracted by Shiny Red Ball syndrome (chasing after every new thing that comes along).
When times are tough or I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing, I have a catalogue of positivity to look at – and this inspires me to push on, keep improving and keep growing.
You can find out more about Mark’s process in his 2017 book KNOWN.
The positive signals spreadsheet
To capture the positive signals of progress in my business, I use a simple Excel spreadsheet split into these tabs:
- Signals: positive things that happened in my business.
- Metrics: hard, measurable data.
If you want a free template to track your own positive signals, you can download my sample spreadsheet:
✅ This is a direct download – no email address required
✅ Cool people share this sort of stuff
Tab 1: Signals
The Signals tab is used to keep track of the signs of progress in my business. Examples include the following:
- Opportunities to speak at conferences and other events
- Invitations to appear on podcasts
- Video interviews
- Complimentary emails from people outside my network
- Gifts and other meaningful thank yous
- Guest blog spots
- Special social media mentions
Tab 2: Metrics
The Metrics tab is used to keep track of more tangible stats such as social media followers. What you track is up to you, but here’s what works for me.
Tracking Twitter followers
I share a lot of helpful content on Twitter. After LinkedIn, it’s my most active social network for sharing content and engaging with others.
Twitter’s analytics provide an excellent overview of your account activity. Go to analytics.twitter.com to see your own stats.
Why this stat matters to me
I use Twitter to test ideas for blogs. What resonates with people there often makes good subject matter for blog content.
The bigger my audience is on Twitter, the better that testing ground is.
Tracking LinkedIn followers
I’ve been very active on LinkedIn since 2017, making new connections and gathering followers at a healthy rate.
You can keep an eye on your connections by tapping the My Network icon:
You can see your followers and follower count on linkedin.com/feed/followers/ – it looks like this:
LinkedIn has a system called the Social Selling Index (SSI) to give its users a score based on 4 categories that attempt to measure how much weight that user carries on the platform.
Why this stat matters to me
LinkedIn is a significant source of new clients for my technical copywriting business.
Growing my LinkedIn network increases my exposure to others and improves my chances of scoring new work.
Check out How to get freelance work on LinkedIn for one way I look for new job opportunities on LinkedIn.
Tracking mailing list subscribers
My current subscriber count is 1535.
Why this stat matters to me
People who’ve bothered to sign up to my mailing list are more engaged with my content than any other group. They’re the people I most want to spend time talking with, as there’s a good chance that they’ll be happy to promote my work to others.
If I build up the numbers sufficiently, a few of my subscribers might become customers some way down the line (though I’m not actively trying to sell my writing services through my list).
What about the other networks?
You’ll see that I’m not tracking anything to do with Facebook, Instagram or any other platforms. Why?
Because I don’t use them for marketing.
I have a Facebook business page but don’t ever receive any client interest via Facebook. So tracking likes there isn’t particularly relevant to me.
But that could be completely different for you. What’s important here is that you track the metrics that matter in your business.
My real metrics
Here are some of my own real figures, showing Twitter followers, LinkedIn followers and Espresso ☕️ email subscribers.
9 Spokes – a free dashboard
9 Spokes is a free dashboard tool that gives you an at-a-glance view of this sort of data. Here’s what my 9 Spokes dashboard looks like:
Another way to track positive mentions
Keynote speaker Brian Fanzo uses an approach he calls screenshot awesomeness.
Brian and his team capture images of all the positive interactions he has with his followers and clients. This helps him build a huge bank of evidence of the power of social media.
Check out this episode of the FOMO Fanz podcast to hear Brian in full flow about this:
Let’s wrap up
Are you tracking the positive signals that tell you your business is on the right track? What things are you measuring? Let me know by leaving a comment below.