There’s a 2011 movie that combines my favorite things: sports and analytics. Moneyball features Brad Pitt and the guy that tried to buy goldfish boots in 40-year-old virgin try to get the Oakland Athletics to the upper echelon of major league baseball by worrying less about the fluffy analytics and focusing in on only one key metric.
The Athletics have a major problem: they are operating with a fraction of the budget of their competition. They are a small market team, the mom and pop of the MLB. Every time they develop a good player the Yankees, the Red Sox or any of the big box baseball teams open up their wallets and buy the player out from under them.
So how does small business baseball try to compete? By narrowing the blinders and focusing exclusively on what wins games. Baseball comes with a nice grab bag of statistics, with fancy names and elaborate meanings. But the As find value by cutting through the noise and focusing on just one metric, one thing, that wins ball games: getting on base.
Players getting on base leads to scoring. Scoring leads to wins. And while all of the other metrics have a home somewhere, the team focused their efforts on getting on base as often and cheaply as possible.
They allocated their limited budget specifically to this cause.
And so, I use this elaborate metaphor to challenge you. Right now, while money is tight and cash flow is everything, what is your metric? What is the single thing, that you can control, that will most tangibly lead to winning?
Virtual networking is great, but does it generate orders? Can you tie your retweets to your gross margin?
If we think like the Oakland As we need to ask ourselves what is going to lead to the most sales. As a restaurant, maybe it’s going to be views of your online menu. So what can you do to maximize your budget and get those menu views?
How are you going to get on base?