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The best way to create big business transformation? Go small. John Lamerton and the team at Big Idea Media are guided by the “One Percent Way”—focusing on small improvements that result in real business growth.
“Our ethos with our business and the businesses we work with are simply leaving that business one percent better every week. Do nothing else than improve the business by one percent each week.”
Big Idea Media is an information marketing company that provides business owners with the knowledge they need to improve their businesses and their lives. John and his team are driven by the ethos of creating better businesses, not necessarily bigger ones. Creating better businesses starts with monitoring the right data at the right time.
As the owner of Big Idea, John needed his finger on the pulse of key performance metrics. Creating monthly reports was a tedious, manual task that took the team hours. John spent half a work day each month compiling all of the data he received from team leaders into a 16-page Google Doc.
“All it was then was this kind of history lesson of ‘well, this is what we did last month… or 6 weeks ago.’ There’s no real time reporting there at all. It was all past lessons.” John Lamerton
“All it was then was this kind of history lesson of ‘well, this is what we did last month… or 6 weeks ago.’ There’s no real time reporting there at all. It was all past lessons.”
When John decided he wanted to take a step back from the business and focus on writing, he knew this reporting process needed to change. John was compiling and interpreting all of the business data up until this point. This created a data bottleneck for his team that was keeping them from making strategic business decisions. To step away from the business successfully, John needed a way to track and share real-time data with his team and reduce the amount of time spent on historical reporting.
Flexibility and a robust number of integrations were essential to the Big Idea team when searching for a performance monitoring solution. When they found Databox, John says the conversation transitioned from what he set out to do to ‘what’s possible’? Databox’s integration options, specifically Google Sheets, allowed the team to “think outside the box” in terms of what data they could upload. Having access to real-time metrics from all of their sources within Databox gave the team control over their data in a way they never had before.
Implementing Databox allowed the team to track real-time metrics and reduce their reporting time. But John said the biggest shift is the conversations his team is having around the data. Instead of monthly meetings around long reports of historical data, the team is having weekly “metrics meetings.”
Metrics meetings kick off with a look at the team’s dashboard. These dashboards include real-time metrics for the team, the company, and for individual team members. John says this allows the meeting conversations to be more productive and action-oriented: “Instead of having discussions around ‘Here’s what I’ve been up to this week’… our conversations became ‘Hang on—we’re 3% down on our target here’, or ‘our search engine rankings are not doing as well as they were before.’”
“We were suddenly spotting low-hanging fruit when there was still time to actually harvest that fruit, whereas previously we would discover it six weeks later.”
Insights into real-time metrics allowed the Big Idea team to focus on small, actionable changes that transformed the business. John and the team would choose individual metrics to improve—shifts as small as increasing the retention rate by 2%. This methodology is the One Percent Way: “The idea of evaluating 100 different metrics, improving them all by one percent, and then putting them together and finding your business is 100 percent better.”
Since tracking these metrics with Databox and focusing on incremental improvements to the business, Big Idea Media has grown significantly. Profit more than doubled (up 151%) over the course of 12 months. Sales volume increased by 55%, and sales value increased by 26%. John doesn’t attribute this success to working long hours of overtime, but to keeping the team focused on the right metrics.
“If I’d said to the team, ‘We’re gonna grow our turnover by 34%. How are we gonna do that?’ They probably would have said, ‘Well, you’re gonna ask us to work 34% harder.’ Well, no. We’re not. We’re gonna just have some conversations around the numbers, around the metrics, and it’s that metrics mindset that made the difference.”
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