It’s time to stop prioritizing short-term metrics over a long-term success strategy.
March 28, 2018 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As an entrepreneur you’re told to understand your numbers. This is good advice, until you realize how many numbers there are to consider: financial numbers, sales conversations, how many people are on your landing page, how many people show up for your webinar, your Facebook ad conversions …
There are a lot of metrics, and it’s hard to know which ones to focus on.
After building multiple seven-figure businesses, I’ve realized how unimportant many of these numbers are — and just how important some of the immeasurable things in your business are.
I call this your “invisible return on investment,” and it focuses on the long game — which puts a lot of people off because the long game isn’t sexy. Entrepreneurs love the short game. They love to know how much money they have made in the last 30 days.
It’s easy and quick, and it provides you with dopamine spikes that tricks you into thinking you’re successful. The problem is, you get so bogged down in these short-term metrics that you slip into short-term thinking.
But, business success isn’t built on short-term thinking. It’s built over time, which means you need to think about the long game. This is where the “invisible ROI” comes in.
By focusing your time, money and resources into these three areas, you escape the short-term thinking that traps so many entrepreneurs, and instead turns your attention toward the long game that allows you to grow and scale a business that changes the world.
1. Your relationships
The biggest problem entrepreneurs have when it comes to their relationships is that they don’t think about the long term. Whether these relationships center around your business or personal life, too many people focus on what their relationships can bring them right now.
You go to an event in the hope of meeting someone, because you see that “someone” as a person who can help you get in certain media publications, introduce you to her audience, connect you with another influencer or whatever else.
You start your relationship with an end game in mind, but this is no way to treat anyone in your network.
When it comes to people, success centers around trust, which takes time to build. If you connect with someone in the hope they will help you achieve “X” in the next 30 days, you’re sabotaging yourself from the beginning.
Instead, commit your time, money and resources to meeting the right people, and then surround yourself with these people at all times. Don’t have an end game in mind. Don’t measure your success on how many people you connect with, how many referrals it creates or how many partnerships you form.
Just invest in the right kind of people, and your return on investment will come. It may not be today, and it may not come tomorrow, but it will in time, and when it does, it will pay you back with interest through opportunities and friendship.
2. Your audience
If you don’t invest a significant amount of time and money into building an audience who believes in you, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
In today’s age where anyone can connect with anyone, an audience isn’t just a group of people who buy your product. If you see your audience as a commodity like this, you’re self-sabotaging the impact you can have on them.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Instead, build an audience of like-minded people who share the same values as you. As soon as you do this, you create something that’s more than a business, and you yourself become someone who creates genuine transformation.
Do this and you won’t only enjoy success today, but for as long as you care to provide value to your audience — and this is what it all comes down to: value.
You need to give them value and you need to build their trust (just as you would with your relationships). You need to become the leader of your tribe so they look up to you, and you need to become the “go-to” expert to those you serve.
This takes time, and it takes significant investment to attract and keep these people around, which puts many entrepreneurs off because they want success and money now.
This is your opportunity to take advantage of their impatience, because those who invest in their audience reap the rewards in the long term, and soon see their invisible ROI go through the roof.
3. Your awareness
It used to be expensive (and near impossible) for businesses to become omnipresent. The likes of Coca-Cola have done it for decades, but until recently you needed a budget like Coca-Cola to do so.
Today, anyone can become the Coca-Cola of his or her niche. Not only can you build an audience that looks up to you, but you can appear before them again and again so you are top of mind — all the time.
Overnight, you can own their newsfeed and become the “go-to” expert in your specific industry. But, again, hardly anybody does this because it doesn’t center around leads and sales. As such, this approach doesn’t provide a 30-day ROI, which is a red flag for most entrepreneurs.
But, it shouldn’t, because what it does offer is a massive invisible ROI, meaning you can become omnipresent and top of mind, enjoying long-term success that outlives your competition — all because you choose to invest in awareness first, and sales second.
None of this is to say the short-game doesn’t matter and that you shouldn’t consider the short-term metrics you always have. But, if all you do is consider these, you will never last the test of time.
You will continue to jump on the biggest trend, whereas those who invest their time, money and resources into their relationships, audience and awareness never have to worry. So, if you want to make this year “the” year you finally blow up, stop focusing your marketing success on short-term metrics. Instead, focus on the invisible ROI and become the “go to ” expert in your industry.