The title for this post may appear to be more appropriate for an argument in existential philosophy than a business management discussion, but I would argue otherwise. If you are disciplined about doing your monthly financials in a timely manner, you should be able to quickly come to see trends in the profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. In some ways financial metrics (though often times neglected) are the easy part if you have decent accounting.
Just about everything in your business can be measured if you give it some thought. For internal record keeping, it’s important for owners to identify their top 2-3 metrics by area, human resources, marketing, sales, etc. It can also be valuable to keep external record keeping (for everyone in the company to see) such as customer centric records in a public area of the business. Items in this category could be on time delivery, customer satisfaction, etc.
Transparency and achievement of goals are motivational and help people stay focused on what’s important. In addition, prospects and existing customers love it when they do a tour of your facility. Makes for a great discussion starter.
Management guru Peter Drucker coined the phrase, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I would take a step further and say if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.