Numbers can be your best friend. Really!

If you think you can get people to believe you based on your charm and good looks, you’re wrong. There is a reason that people ask you to put your money where your mouth is – they want you to Prove It! And it’s easy, I promise.

Is it Faster to New York or By Bus?

Consider the question: “Is it faster to New York or by bus?” Obviously it’s unanswerable – there is no starting point, and there is no option to consider. That’s the way it is with most, or all, business proposals that have no data – no points of reference, and therefore no way to answer the question or make a decision.

Have you ever presented a great idea only to have people stare at you and just not “get it”? Do you present dynamically and passionately, and then leave the room without a decision from the people who control the purse strings? If someone asks you to gather “relevant data” do you sometimes feel overwhelmed?

Never fear. Although numbers are important, the use of them does NOT have to be complicated and threatening to you, your team, and your project. In fact, just a few key numbers can help you be more successful every day.

Just remember, of the three basic process improvement steps, “Define It! Map It! Prove It!”, the most important by far is “Prove It!”Click to Tweet this!

Main Goal: Help People Believe You

You walk into a room seeking money for staff training. Your pitch is something like, “our costs are going up because our staff aren’t trained properly, so we’re going to start a massive training program.”

You might as well be asking whether it’s farther to New York or by bus. Any financial controller worth their salt will look at you and say “Prove it!”, and then hit you with a barrage of questions.

How much have costs gone up? Over what period? Is the increase significant compared to your sales volume? Could anything else be causing costs to go up? How do you know it’s training that’s the problem? How much do you want?

If you don’t have those numbers to tell your story, the chance of you convincing your financial controller to spend the money on the training program are very low. If, on the other hand, you can add four simple numbers like in the following statement, the controller will have no choice but to support you!

“Our cost per unit has increased in the last three quarters by 5% per quarter even though our sales have been stable over the same period. The only major change in the organization has been the addition of 25 new sales employees who have not yet met their targets. Analysis shows that the new employees would benefit from training program, at a cost of $100 per employee, or $2500.”

Anticipate the questions. Gather the simple numbers. Prove it!

See you next week!