Track Your Business Growth

For years I’ve been tracking monthly numbers in my business. When I slack off on the tracking, my numbers decline.

It’s the exact opposite of “Ignorance is bliss.” I believe that tracking numbers tells the Universe that you are committed to your business. And the Universe doesn’t give you more of something until you’re ready to accept more.

My tracks at Nye Beach, OR. Photograph ©Alyson B. Stanfield

My tracks at Nye Beach, OR. Photograph ©Alyson B. Stanfield

You can’t expect business growth if you don’t understand where your starting point is!

I offer below a list of items that you could be tracking for your art business. The ones that are *starred and in bold are mandatory.

Followers

In my business I am concerned with all of the following. You have to decide what is most useful to you.

  • *Number of e-mail subscribers. You also want to know how many new people, on average, subscribe each month.
  • Number of Facebook fans (Likes). Also note Facebook engagement: How many people are talking about your business page?
  • Number of Twitter and Pinterest followers
  • Your Klout score

Email

Watch your open rates, but do so with caution as open rates are deceiving! Look for major swings in open rates. Tweak your subject lines and improve your content if less than 25% of your list is opening your email.

Use link tracking to keep an eye on click-throughs from your email. What links are people clicking on? Where do those appear in your email, and what language did you use with the link?

Marketing (General)

What did you do to promote your art? Where did you get results? What have you not been doing consistently that you must do in order to see results?

Sales Pages

If you sell products or teach classes, you can test and tweak to figure out what language, images, and placement work best for your online sales pages. If you’re extra sophisticated, try split-testing.

Finances

*Monthly income. Compare your numbers to last month and the same month for previous years.

*Breakdown of your income streams. Where did your money come from? What venue sold the most work for you?

*Monthly expenses. In particular, you want to know if you’re spending more than you make. If deficits happen consistently over a few years, your business could be red-flagged as a hobby by the IRS. You must aim to make a profit.

Images

You might track the number of repins of your art on Pinterest and the sharing of your art on Facebook. How can you increase those numbers so that more people are exposed to your work?

Site Stats

  • *How people find you. Are they finding you through an online search? If so, what keywords are they using? Are they clicking on outside links? If so, from what sites?
  • *Top pages for traffic. What attracts people to your site?
  • Top images viewed. What are people looking at?
  • Most commented-on blog posts. What engages your readers?
  • How many people are looking at your site on mobile devices? By the way, have you looked at your site on mobile devices? Is it mobile-friendly?

Teaching

  • *How many students are in your classes? If they’re not full, what can you do differently to get more people enrolled? (By the way, my Cultivate Collectors online class begins today. It’s not too late to join us and increase my numbers in this category. Click here to find out more.)
  • Where did students hear about your classes?
  • How much back-of-the-room product (books, reports, CDs, DVDs) did you sell at your classes?

What else do you track? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Art Biz Insider subscribers receive a tracking worksheet with most of the above items included. Grab the Word and PDF versions of this document by subscribing today.
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8 comments to Track Your Business Growth

  • Thanks Alyson, great advice. I’m in the process of looking at my workshops: venues, frequency, how I present them, etc.. The tracking the finances is a week point – entering data into Quickbooks is the last thing I want to do. But, that’s just a habit I can change.
    Cheers, Philip

    • Philip: Absolutely! You want to know that your workshops are making money and not costing you money.

      Do you ever watch Restaurant Impossible? Great biz lessons on that show! Usually the owners get in trouble when they think something is making them money and don’t actually track the income and expenses.

  • How are you tracking ‘Click throughs’ from your email. is your email program providing it or are you looking at the stats on your blog? Or something else?
    What email program are you using that shows ‘open rates’?

    • K: I use 1ShoppingCart (newsletter and autoresponders) and Aweber (blog subscriptions) to follow link tracking, though I don’t watch these numbers super closely. I imagine that this will change in the future as I plan to use these tools in a more sophisticated way.

      In 1SC, you must “Enable Link Tracking” in order to follow the click-throughs.

      I have one subscriber that can’t use the links provided when link tracking is available, so there might be others for whom that’s a problem. I’m keeping an eye on this.

  • […] I encouraged you to track your business growth. Presumably, you’ve been doing some of this […]

  • Alyson, This falls under how you track but wanted to share. I started using Invoice2Go and love it! Helps me see where I am by month, quarter, etc to reach those goals. Also makes you realize the expense side is important also and they have Receipts2Go….Great inexpensive tools to help see where you are!

  • This isn’t exactly tracking hard and fast numbers for my business, but one thing I’ve started to “track” are potential venues, like a gallery, that I’m interested in possibly showing in. Once I’ve got a venue listed as a prospect I try and check on them at least once a month – their website, social media, blog, etc – and keep up with and make notes about them. Gives me a better idea if I think they will be a fit for me and my work.

    I use OneNote (like Evernote) to create entries about each prospect, then I create a bookmark folder in my browser for the prospect where I put links to each resource for the prospect. Keeps it organized that way.

  • […] Alyson Stanfield: “Track it!”  Track all of the numbers that will tell you whether you’re making money as an artist or just have an expensive hobby. This can be scary at first, but it should shock you into action. Tracking numbers tells the Universe that you are committed to your business. And the Universe doesn’t give you more of something until you’re ready to accept more. A list of the numbers to keep your eye on is here. […]