Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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The essential numbers for business success

Recently I met a friend who launched a new F&B product. Let’s call him Mark, although it is not his real name. Mark shared with me all the amazing initiatives that he launched to raise awareness about the product. The conversation was quite interesting, but not for the reasons that readers might expect. As a very practical and down to earth business enthusiast, I asked Mark to share with me some business numbers, and - shockingly - he could not quote any of them by heart. Here is how the conversation went.

First, Mark told me about the great initiatives that he launched. His team opened a Tik Tok account and an official page on Facebook. They also started the usual Instagram, but surprisingly not Linkedin. I found it peculiar because Linkedin is still king when it comes to B2B (business to business) channels. It emerged from what he told me that he was interested in exporting his products, but without a Linkedin presence I thought that it might be hard to validate what he has accomplished.

Also, based on what Mark told me, he invested heavily in marketing and media production. The brand has plenty of professionally produced content. I watched one of the videos, and I must say it was top quality. However, the video was under-utilised and shared once on social media only. I have suggested him to use it as an ad on YouTube, targeting a narrowly segmented audience. Normally, on YouTube ads, a video can be programmed to be played before another video. What not many people know - unless they have worked with YouTube ads before - is that the advertiser can narrow down very specifically where the video should be played. For example, if your product is a car insurance, you could target to play your video advertisement before the video of an auto maker or an automotive clip. In his case, after using this tip for a month, he confirmed with me that it worked great.

Back to what I was not impressed with, was the fact that when we talked the first time it was in July, and he did not have neither the quarterly report, nor the June sales report ready. That is paramount in order to keep track of how the business is performing. Mark told me that he does not have accounting background, so he hired an accountant to help with the PnL. But the problem is that the accountant he hired is part time, and not particularly motivated to excel in her role. So she basically reports basic figures to Mark, and he accepts whatever is presented to him without questioning it. I invited Mark to be much more detailed in terms of reporting. Not only knowing the overall sales by heart month by month, but perhaps weekly too.

Additionally, he should implement a breakdown system so that the all numbers are linked to a channel. In Mark’s case, his product is sold in 21 offline venues, 2 online market places, and 1 supermarket chain with over 30 stores. I suggested Mark to break down sales from each channel individually, so that he can correct and improve when a channel is underperforming.

Overall, starting a project is an exciting journey, but keeping track of sales is essential for its survival.

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