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  8.15. Step 3: Monitor the Business with Continuous Data Flow (4 min.)

At this point you may feel you have nailed it - and you may be right - but that doesn’t mean you have a guarantee for success in perpetuity. To stay successful you cannot turn off the interaction with customers and go into blind execution mode. The key to your continued success as a business depends on two things: continuous data flow and measuring the right things. By continuous data flow we mean continued interaction with your customers. That may sound strange, given all the work you will have gone through to nail your business, but we aren’t asking you to endlessly hold back from building your business. We are asking you to keep your pulse on the customer pain, on how your solution matches that pain, on your go-to-marketing strategy, and on the business model. To keep your knowledge fresh you will need to maintain intimate involvement with your customers. You will also need to measure other variables that represent critical success factors.

Depending on the type of business, the data you track might be customer-acquisition costs, customer-retention rates, sales per customer, net promoter score, or whatever metric gives you insight into how the business is going and where problems might be slowing your growth. As you begin to grow the business, the key is to identify the metrics that are most relevant to the growth of your business and keep a close eye on the data. Don’t get sucked into gut feelings or metrics that look good but miss the point. Gut feelings can only take you so far, whereas data gives you facts, which lead to real insights.

One tool you may consider using to maintain a continuous data flow on the right measurements is a business dashboard, which represents a single place where you capture a set of metrics that provides insight into the operations of a business on a regular basis. These metrics can be incredibly powerful tools to help you recognize when something might be awry. As you begin to make sales, keep gathering real data from customers, as well as other important business metrics that can help you monitor your business and recognize whether the business is on track as sales start to grow.

(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 168-169)