July 16, 2018

The Best Advice I Give Every Entrepreneur

Know your numbers!

The One Piece of Advice I Give Every Entrepreneur

Hi friends – I’m thrilled to continue my business series of articles. Helping women achieve their best in business is certainly a passion of mine!

Given my extensive business background, I’m often asked for business advice. The most frequently asked question is some form of this question:

“If you could give me one piece of advice for running my own business, what would it be?”


“What’s the best business advice you have for me?”

And I have an unequivocal answer that I give each and every time!

Do you want to know what that is?

Well, keep scrolling to learn my most important piece of business advice – plus how you can implement it immediately to grow your business! You’ll be surprised at how powerful this tip is!

Know Your Numbers

Without a doubt, without hesitation, when I am asked for one key piece of business advice, here is what I tell business women:

Know your numbers!

And I’m not the only one who thinks that knowing your numbers is critical to business success! Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s The Profit says, “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business. It’s that simple!” In addition, Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta firmly believes in the power of knowing your numbers. In his words, “More than anything, know your numbers!”

How did I become such a strong proponent of knowing your numbers? I saw it work! I spent the last twelve years of my oil & gas career at a wonderful, entrepreneurial-minded company. We had three key metrics for the company. Each year, we set goals for those key metrics, and each month, we actively measured and tracked our progress towards those goals. The numbers served as motivating goal posts for which our whole company aimed its efforts. Consequently, we experienced exponential, phenomenal growth both in the short-term and long-term.

And that is how I run my business today… Ask any of the ladies on my team, and they can tell you what our current goal is and how we are doing relative to that goal. It’s a collective effort. We all sink or swim together.

4 Steps to Use Your Critical Number Effectively 

Now, this comes fairly naturally to me, as I am a number nerd at heart! I am a data-driven, spreadsheet-loving woman through and through!

But even if numbers don’t come naturally to you, you too can implement this business advice easily. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these steps, and watch your business growth accelerate immediately!

1. Identify your critical number(s)

Certainly, I believe there are a bunch of numbers that business women should understand and monitor for their businesses. Revenue, cash flow, sales, margins… there are all sorts of financial numbers you should know. But we will save that for another discussion.

For this exercise, we want to pick one critical number to monitor. In order to pick the right number for your business, consider these questions:

What one number will most determine whether my business succeeds or not?

What one number will most affect the growth trajectory of my business?

What one number moves the needle for my business?

What one number is most important for my business?

Can everyone in the company understand and impact this one number?

Can we easily track this one number?

Can we set goals for this one number?

Notice I keep saying one number. We want to create focus – for myself and for my team. That laser-like focus will help us get results! So narrow your focus down to one number if at all possible, but definitely no more than three numbers.

What we did during my tenure in oil and gas: We had three numbers we focused on. Keep in mind, though, that this was a billion dollar plus corporation with over one thousand employees. So the fact three little numbers could serve to drive results for a workforce that big is still pretty remarkable.

What I do for my business: We measure page views. Page views, page views, page views. That number matters more than anything else for us! More than followers, more than social media stats, more than affiliate sales, more than anything. That’s because as long as we are driving more and more people to our website, the rest will take care of itself. We will get more sponsored partnerships, we will get more affiliate link clicks and sales, we will get more product sales. But first and foremost, we aim to get more and more people to our site each month.

So, what is that number for you? Think long and hard about this, because selecting the appropriate metric is the most crucial step.

2. Set goals for that critical number

Before you can set goals, you must first understand where you stand today. It’s common sense, right? You have to understand your current state before you can set goals for your future state.

When it comes to goal setting, I’ll keep it short and simple (for now). Goals should be specific and measurable. And goals should be aspirational. They should not be too easy, but not so hard that they are actually demotivating. Also, be sure that your short-term goals get you to where you want to be in the longer term.

3. Track your critical number

Use a spreadsheet to track both your goals and your actual results. At any point in time, you and your team members should know where you stand relative to your goals. Are you beating your goals? Or are you behind your goals? If you’re behind, what can you do to pick up the slack? What can each team member do to impact results?

Make it personal! People want to be a part of a winning team. And they want to help that team win.

4. Celebrate achieving your critical number

Create a culture of teamwork by not only working towards goals together, but also by celebrating victories together. Celebrations can be as simple as a party or more extravagant like a monetary bonus. But the key is that everyone is rewarded. We certainly don’t ever want to create elitist or exclusionary cultures within our company.

Question for You

I have a spreadsheet tool that I’ve developed to track our key metric. Along with tracking the goal numbers and actual performance, the tool also generates helpful graphs. These graphs allow everyone to see at a glance how you’re doing versus your goals.

Would you all be interested in using this template for your business? I promise I’ll make it very user-friendly and fool-proof. If you’re interested, I may consider making this available as a download. Just let me know.

In Closing 

So, has this article ignited some thoughts for you regarding your business? What number would you say is most critical for your business’s success?

Also, if you liked what you read here, make sure to check out these other business-related articles.

The 6 Biggest Mistakes Women Make in Business

7 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome (i.e., how to gain confidence in business)

9 Style Tips for Women in Business

Feel free to pin the below graphic so you can refer back to it time and again!

Now, go out and make it a great week! And track those numbers.


  1. Sheri says:

    Good advice, Carrie! I am not an entrepreneur, but I work in a corporate environment in HR and we must know our numbers.

    1. Hi Sheri – thanks for chiming in! You are exactly right… In any sort of business environment, knowing your numbers will serve you well!

  2. DianaR says:

    Straight forward advice! Will love to use your spreedsheet

    1. Oh thanks for saying that, Diana! I will see about sharing it.

  3. Laura U says:

    This is great advice Carrie! I sent this on to my marketing team and we are getting our heads together on our “one number”. Thanks a ton for this post!

    1. Oh that makes me so happy, Laura! Thank you for saying that. Can’t wait to hear what y’all come up with.

      PS – I owe you an email. Time to get started on a new project together!

  4. Brandy G. says:

    I love that you narrowed it down to 4 simple steps! I’m my own team right now (ha ha) so I’m currently trying to figure out what number is most important to my brand. Thanks for the insight!

    1. Oh Brandy – I just adore you! Thank you for reading and for chiming in.

      If I can ever help you with this or any business advice, I’d love to do so! Just let me know.

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