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Use Key Performance Indicators to Track Your Small Business and Manage Growth

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Do you want to do more to track and manage your business growth and performance? Most small business owners wonder if there are certain numbers they should be tracking that matter more than others, or metrics that will gauge their unique business. Maybe you’ve even heard of key performance indicators, and wonder what they are.

The short answer is, there are important metrics, and they do indeed relate to your operational and business performance. They’re called key performance indicators, and you should definitely know which ones matter for your business.

If you’re a TLDR person, jump to the list. To learn more, keep reading. And join our webinar to learn even more, and ask live questions.

How to use Key Performance Indicators

From a financial point of view, every business is the same in that it has: revenue, costs, expenses, net profit, assets, liabilities and equity. The 3 standard financial reports capture these metrics in the profit and loss, cash flow and balance sheet. These 3 reports apply to every business. But if you’re like most small business owners, those reports aren't very helpful for gaining insights on your business and making key decisions. You need more.

Even though all businesses use the same financial reports, all businesses are unique in that each has a special combination of things that make it profitable or not profitable. Things like staffing, vendor pricing and terms, loan requirements, and unique mixes of products and services, each with different types of sales patterns and seasonality.

In other words, your business has a unique model that makes it hum. If you’ve heard the term business model, that’s what it refers to. Knowing your business model is your key to identifying the exact metrics you need to gauge your success, and keep it on track.

This is a list of Key Performance Indicators, and the areas of business operation and health that they relate to the most.

This list will give you the overview. Join our webinar on Thursdays to learn more about these metrics, and ask your questions in real time.

Financial Metrics and Key Performance Indicators



Total Revenue

Sales team, strategic partnerships, stability of new products or services, public relations and marketing efforts

Revenue Backlog

The amount you have sold, but not yet billed. Mostly for project work and service based businesses. You want to have a high backlog for profit and cash stability, but balance it with your staffing.

Cost of Goods

Vendor pricing, contract language and terms, vendor relationships, partners and resources, negotiating power

Gross Margin

Is the thing you are selling profitable? Can it be optimized for more efficiency and profit?

Total Expenses

Careful budgeting, payroll structure, HR standards and policies, employees benefits, vendor contracts and rates, employee retention

Accounts Receivable (AR)

Sales volume, work in progress

AR Days

Collections, contract negotiation, customer relationships

Accounts Payable (AP)

Timing of resource needs to purchase (just in time)

AP Days

Negotiating power, vendor relationships and health

Current Ratio (Assets/Liabilities)

Long term stability

Cash Ratio

Ability to survive in a crisis

Utilization (Billable Labor)

The health of your billable service work

Marketing Ratio

Effectiveness of your marketing dollars spent

Payroll Ratio

Effectiveness of your staff budget and payroll expenses

Rent Ratio

Effectiveness of your use of space for your business

Recruiting + Training Ratio and Employee Turnover

Recruiting and training is incredibly expensive, so you want to be sure you are spending the right amount. The leading indicator here is employee turnover, or attrition. Track what percentage of employees you lose each quarter.

Join our webinar to learn how key performance indicators will help you gauge your business’s health, track your progress, and achieve your goals.


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