Measure Once Cut Twice

My Spanish is on par with a toddler. My mind sees the same word for attorneys (abogados) as it does for meatballs (albóndigas). It got me thinking about things I think I know, but I don’t really know. We’ve heard, “What gets measured gets done.” However, in our busy work lives, sometimes we work really hard and hope we’re making all the right decisions. But without metric data, who knows? Having a vague grasp on your business production metrics is ultimately stealing money away from your firm, employees and diminishing the client experience.

Do you operate in the maximum productive manner possible? I think we think we do since we feel like we’ve done everything possible to bring success to our business. But feeling like we’re on top of things isn’t the same as actually knowing things. It’s like not knowing the difference between attorneys and meatballs en Espanol.

The culprit is the stuff between our ears. Our attitude. If you run your career or business like a rental car, it will likely ultimately result in poor performance, dents and perhaps a bad cat smell. Business success takes continued improvement (time and $) not just, “We did some productivity stuff a couple years ago.” Some appraisers do interval business improvement. They schedule every other year to pop the hood of their business and determine how they’re actually performing.

Most things worth anything take energy. Collecting meaningful metrics in your firm can take a lot of time to obtain, but it’s worth it. Important metric questions to answer might include:

  1. Have you calculated the time (cost) for each stage of the appraisal?*
  2. What’s the profit margin on an appraisal report and restricted use reports?
  3. Who’s your best customer, a financial institution or one-off clients (collectively)?
  4. What’s the hourly internal review cost associated with each appraiser?
  5. Is unintended work (report mistakes) increasing your expenses? If so, how much?

*Bid, job set up, inspection, research, comp management, analysis, word processing, internal review, billing and closing

Wrapping metrics with best practices will drive your revenue in a very positive direction. If money doesn’t get your attention, then perhaps time off with a nice vacation. Think pasta carbonara and Chianti in Cinque Terre off the coast of the Italian Riviera. Yummy. Beautiful. Fun.

How often do you reevaluate your internal processes, software and measure their effectiveness? For me, I sometimes get busy in the day-to-day tactical things and totally forget about the strategic. If you’re in the seventh-inning of your career, it’s even more important that you maximize your retirement nest egg. It’s interesting to note that the Spanish word for success is éxito.

We all want business success so we’re not limited in our choices. It would be like eating at Bob Evans every day. Then again, they do make a meatball sub that looks pretty good. In full disclosure, last time I went to Bob Evans my stomach said, “no bueno”. Work hard to answer your important business metric questions.