Don’t Get Marginalized: Know Your Numbers

By November 15, 2013

It can happen anywhere – in a public bathroom, on an airline, at a cocktail party. You don’t want to be caught clueless, and of course you don’t want to lie. What will you do when an influential (or not) person questions you about your business numbers?

These queries are inevitable:

“How’s your business these days?”

“Are you breakeven yet?”

“Is this new technology worth it for your business?” 

“What’s your price point compared to your competitors?” 

For those quant superstars out there, these questions don’t result in even a sweat. However for those entrepreneurs out there who aren’t focusing on the numbers, here’s how to prevent a real #entrepreneurfail.

Even if you are a self-declared “soft” entrepreneur and have team members and employees who handle the metrics side of the business, there are a few basic numbers you have no excuse in not knowing off the top of your head.

Your Product/Service: 

– Current and previous revenues

– Future revenue estimates and confidence level

– Total costs = Fixed Costs  + Variable Costs

– Breakeven volume = How much do you have to sell a year to recoup your costs

– Profit = Difference between your revenues and costs

– Margins = How much do you make per unit sold

– Total Debt (How much and who owns it)

– Total Equity (How much and who owns it)


– Size of market in revenue and/or volume

– Size of closest competitor in revenue and/or volume


– Return per Employee = Total Sales / Total Salaries Paid

– Return per Customer = Lifetime Customer Revenue / Customer Acquisition Cost

Extra Credit Metrics:

– Perceived Time Worth = The rate you are charging for your time e.g. $200/hour.

– Actual Time Worth = Actual profit you are making/hour. The goal is to align this with the Perceived Time Worth.

Know these numbers like the back of your hand. (In fact write them on the back of your hand so you’ll never forget them!) You never know when having these numbers handy can make or break your business.

Did we miss any metrics? What are the figures you immediately know about your company?  Tell us what they are in the comments below.

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