So how was YOUR Black Friday/Small Business Saturday? Oh, was there a holiday in there? Sorry...hope you enjoyed your feast. How many ways did you find to serve turkey leftovers? Were you as glad to get back to business as I was?
There seems to be as many opinions on the opening of the 2011 holiday selling season as there are pundits pontificating and organizations orating. Sales were up 16% on Black Friday, or they were up 1.9% for the three-day weekend, or don't pay any attention to any of the data.
"Facts are stupid things," Ronald Reagan once misspoke. He also said, more aptly "trust, but verify." There are plenty of examples of the dangers of focusing on the wrong thing, one of my favorites being the famous "monkey business" experiment.
The bottom line is that the most pertinent data are yours: your Key Performance Indicators, and how you use data to guide your business decisions. KPI's can be a powerful decision-making tool, when combined with a proper business plan, and they need not be elaborate to be effective; in fact, just the opposite.
For smaller businesses especially, data are essential for being able to separate fact from fiction and to verify the existence of any of 800 lb gorillas sitting in our midst.