MANAGEMENT • 15 MIN READ

Recession Prep: The Top 10 KPIs To Know Right Now

Your Essential KPI Guide For A Better, More Profitable Business (In Any Economy)

By Austin Netzley

There Are 2 Things In Business:

The stories you tell yourself…

And facts of what’s really happening.

The numbers are the facts. They are the guide. They show you what’s working, what’s not, where to focus and what to fix.

And with a recession looming (or here already!), knowing the key KPIs in your business is more important than ever!

These

Because the reality is:

The Greatest Transfers Of Wealth Happen During Recessions

So are you prepared to not only survive… but thrive?

Here are the key metrics you need to know that will put you ahead with clarity and control.

Table of Contents

Introduction & Core Principles

There are a few principles we live by at 2X.

These principles are the key to over $255M+ in client growth.
AND most importantly, so many lives changed and hours freed up by building a better, simpler, more strategic business.

One of these important principles is:

Numbers Rule.

Numbers are fact. They take out the guesswork and show you the reality.

From there, you can see where you need to focus. You can get your team aligned. You can work better, smarter. And make your life EASIER as CEO.

But after working with hundreds of 6/7-figure businesses across the globe, here’s what I’ve learned…

  • Most are NOT tracking their key metrics
  • Most don’t know the right numbers to track
  • Most that do track numbers are optimizing for the WRONG metrics
So as a result…

Most are driving blind!

Or at the least, they are driving their business by only looking at revenue and profit (15+ days after the month ends)… which is like driving their business by looking in the rearview mirror.

That is a tough way to run & grow a business! Especially if you want to go fast. 😬

No wonder most fail. And even more, most get stuck at a certain revenue level and can’t break through.

Driving Blind

Let the numbers show you what to do.

That’s what this guide is all about. And specifically to prepare you for a recession – just in case.

Before we start, here are the ground rules:

  1. Keep it simple (that’s why this guide is 10 metrics)
  2. The RIGHT numbers (not vanity metrics) are all that matter
  3. Incorrect numbers are worse than no numbers
  4. The metrics you track should be aligned with your big goals and vision
  5. Small and consistent improvements trump trying to be a hero and fix them all overnight
  6. Make it a culture thing — every day, every meeting take this to your team and have them see the numbers clearly because they’re just as impactful for them

So let’s dive in…

“The faster you want to get rich, the more accurate with numbers you must be.”
– Robert Kiyosaki

The Recession

Are we in a recession?

There’s not exactly one term that says if we are or not. In fact, most of the numbers used are very much lagging metrics so we only usually know after the fact. Regardless, here are a few key metrics to know.

GDP is the primary one. And outside of the initial COVID impact, 2022 is the first time we’ve seen negative GDP in a long time.

GDP Change from 2018 - 2022
Another is consumer sentiment… This is down big time overall, which is interesting to see.
GDP and Final Sales
Another is consumer sentiment… This is down big time overall, which is interesting to see.
The Index of Consumer Sentiment
So, not one of these will tell us. But they’re important to be aware of… They key, however, is to know the smart KPIs that are best for YOU to track. Let’s get into those and what you need to know!

What Is A KPI?

Before we get started with which KPIs to track, it’s important to understand what a Business KPI is and how to use it can be essential for businesses of all sizes.

A KPI, or key performance indicator, is used for measuring the performance and progress of a business.

By using a KPI chart or board, businesses are able to get an overview of the key indicators that have been given defined goals in order to track progress.

A business KPI measures things like sales, costs, profit margins and customer satisfaction rates.

KPI vs SLR

An SLR is primarily focused on setting expectations related to service levels across different departments within an organization.

These expectations focus on the timeframe for tasks to be completed, customer satisfaction outcomes and various performance standards necessary for optimal efficiency and productivity.

SLRs can also be used in order to measure cost savings from operational changes within companies or departments.

KPI vs OKR

ORKs (Outputs, Resources & Key Results) are used to identify outputs and resources specifically related to each project or task within an organization.

It requires businesses to establish goals that are broken down into measurable tasks that look at both resources needed as well as the end result.

This allows you to have a better understanding of what they need in order to achieve desired results as well as focus on specific areas of improvement when it comes to efficiency and productivity.

“What gets measured gets done.””
– Peter Drucker

The Top 10 KPIs To Track

If you’d prefer to watch me break these down instead of read, just click play on the video below.

These KPIs are relevant for most industries, but I created them with our audience in mind. So primarily, they’re KPIs for online service based businesses, like course creators, coaches, consultants, and digital agencies.

Check it out.

1. Cash Balance

First and foremost, let’s talk about cash. How much free cash do you have in your business bank account?

You need some “dry powder” to handle the storms, capitalize on opportunities, keep you in the right state of mind, sleeping like a baby at night, and making the right decisions.

Lack of cash (and cash flow) are not only the #1 issue that causes small businesses to fail, but it’s the #1 thing that impacts your stress level and decision making. Without it, you’ll have to make short-term, reactive and scarcity-based decisions… which does not lead to thriving!

One thing you can do: be on top of your cash with a daily text or email notification from your bank.

2. Runway (Core Capital)

Next, cash is only one measure… it really depends how much that cash can last you. That’s what your “runway” is.

Based on your upcoming expenses, if you received zero new revenue in, how long could your business last?

Example:

  • If your business total expenses are ~$50,000 per month
  • And you have $100,000 in cash in your business account…
  • Then you have 2 months of runway.

If you only have $25,000 of cash in the bank, in this example, you only have two weeks of runway. And that’s a scary place to be! Because then you’ll have to scrap and claw to get sales in.

The guidelines we recommend:

  • At a minimum two months of “runway”
  • Ideally more than three months

And this becomes your new baseline that you don’t go below. With this, you know you’ll be in a strong spot to handle big expenses or market shifts – and be able to keep making the right decisions for your business, not scarcity based ones.

3. Revenue Growth

This is one of our favorite metrics to track for all of our private 2X clients. It shows in one chart how you’re trending.

On any given week or month, sales and revenue can be up or down some… but over an extended period of time (3-6 months), you should see a consistent trend going up unless your business is seasonal.

Rolling 6 month revenue trend

By tracking this you’ll be able to spot the direction things are headed for you with a clear visual so that you can be on top of where things may be going – and highlight what needs to be done so that you get that chart to keep going up and up.

Start tracking this and see your trend. It’ll be very eye opening. Look at the total 90-day revenue and see – are you driving consistent, predictable growth? Flatlined? Declining? This chart tells a lot and will help you see more exactly what’s going on.

4. Net Profit Margin (%)

Your profitability may take a hit during a recession. Especially with inflation going on at the same time. So a clear number to track is your profit margin… or even better, if you use accrual accounting, track your true cash flow.

Basically are you bleeding money or still making money? This is a key thing to know and be on top of.

It’s wild how many 6/7-figure business owners don’t know their true profitability, don’t know what it should be for their industry and model, and as a result, are hitting the proper margins.

We can help you change that!

5. Churn Or Retention (Key Fulfillment Number)

It is important – especially when the economy is not thriving – to protect your revenue. The best future customers you have… are your current customers. It’s way easier to keep your existing clients/customers and have them buy more than it is to get new customers in.

So… keep them.

Track a key metric related to your fulfillment to be on top of this to see if more people are canceling. Are they buying less?

This is a great indicator to see. Plus, this leads to a great business. As we talk about in my book From 6 To 7 Figures and in our core methodology, growth begins with fulfillment. So regardless of the economy, you should know your key customer metrics to help maximize lifetime value (LTV) and build a wildly successful and profitable business.

This importance only goes up in times of a recession!

6. Past-Due A/R

Your A/R is your accounts receivable. This is how much money is owed to you.

If other businesses or customers are impacted by the recession, they may be missing payments, having failed charges, extending bills out, changing their payment terms, or more.

This is a crucial number to track. And one that will be a great indicator of how your business is being impacted by the economy.

Are you tracking this actively? Or is it more manual to do? Many businesses either don’t have a good system to track this OR only realize it after weeks and weeks, and then get behind.

Get a system to manage your billing and A/R, and stay on top of this – because it’s obviously crucial to get the money that is owed to you (and as close to on time as possible).

Again, this is an important one.

7. Personal Runway (Core Capital)

Just like for your business, having the proper cash on hand helps you sleep like a baby at night. For yourself and your family, put money aside for a “rainy day” and have that be the new zero.

We recommend at least six months of personal expenses (for you and your family) in cash at a minimum. So if you spend $10,000 per month for you and your family, and this is what you’re expecting in the near future, then you’d need $60,000 in cash – that you don’t touch – as a baseline.

So what is that number for you? And do you have that money set aside?

You may feel like there are smarter things to do with your money or invest into. But even in crazy inflation, it’s worth the peace of mind to have that nest egg there that is separate from the rest of your expenses (and not used for business).

8. Operating Expenses

One of the best ways to “grow your business” is to increase your profits. This is one of the fastest hacks you can address – and one that you should do after reading this guide!

Do you know your P&L well, and understand where your money is flowing? Have you optimized your expenses by department to increase profitability?

Knowing and managing your operating expenses is important now more than ever, so dive in to understand and optimize these.

9. SOs (Sales Opportunities) Or # Of Sales

If you do sales calls, track those. If you go directly to sales, track those. If you keep on top of these, you can keep a close on whether interest in your product/service is slowing down and take measures to counter that.

A recession is a great time to keep marketing and double down on trying to get more sales. A lot of your competitors will stop which presents a great opportunity for you.

10. Recession Stats

Last but not least, you’ll want to at least have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the broader economy. Don’t use this to be afraid, but more so to understand what is happening, what the sentiment is, and what your opportunities are.

There’s not one single metric, but the key ones are related to: GDP, Unemployment, Inflation, Confidence Indexes

Each of these can give you some insight… but the key is to be ahead of what is happening and get ready to capitalize.

With the recession comes a lot of good business opportunities: more employees being available, great talent coming on the market, mergers and acquisitions, marketing at a discount as others pull back, new business opportunities, and much more.

If you are on top of the situation – and ahead financially and with your business using the other key metrics listed, then you will be in a spot to capitalize.

It’s worth repeating:

The Greatest Transfers Of Wealth Happen During Recessions

Where To Start

If you’re starting from scratch, this can be a LOT. It’s overwhelming.

So take it one step at a time.

Step #1:

If you haven’t yet, be sure to watch the accompanying video first. Again, that’s here:

Step #2:

The first things to do are get your cash balance clear and your P&L fully updated and understood. Let’s get a clear picture of the health of your business, as well as your baseline metrics.

Step #3:

Then, be sure to understand your revenue and other key trends. Are you going up, down, flat?

This will help us understand the full picture, and give you foresight into where you’re headed – and what you need to change so that you can keep growing through ANY economy.

Step #4:

Get a baseline of where you’re at for each of the numbers above.

Then start to track these ongoing to stay on top of and be ahead of any issues or opportunities. It feels like it’s a hassle to dive into and track your numbers. You have 100 other things on your plate and are being pulled in all directions…

It helps to create a dashboard with these key metrics that acts as a KPI scorecard for your business.

Then you can use these numbers as your guide. They will give you the clarity and confidence to be able to make the right decisions and set your business up to win.

These are one of the most important things that we help private 2X clients get on top of, and it makes all of the difference.

Get started mastering your key metrics today! And trust me, you won’t go back.

Next Steps

I know it can be overwhelming to try and figure these out alone if you are yet to master it. But it’s something that we can help you with.

We work with ambitious 6/7-figure entrepreneurs like you all across the globe to help you take back control and break through to the next level without being owned by the business.

We work hands-on with you to guide you step-by-step with our proven methodology, systems and strategies to scale a wildly successful business. A core component of that includes helping you define and track the right numbers.

If you want our help, or at least to get a full assessment of your business and the key gaps or levers to focus on to scale, then schedule a free coaching session right now.

We will break down your business in detail and in less than 45 minutes show you three key shifts to make to have some massive success. It’s been called “45 minutes that will change your life and business.”

We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses to help them scale better/faster across the globe, so we can guide you on what to focus on to get more traction than ever.

Don’t try to figure it all out yourself. We can guide you to the next level – and in a hurry.

Click below and book your time today:

From “In” The Business… To $2 Million + CEO Scaling Fast!

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“Before 2X, I didn’t even know what a KPI was. Now I couldn’t imagine going even one day without reviewing and leading with the numbers.”

Ryan Rockwell

Verified Customer