Have you ever dreamt about flying? Jumping in an airplane, firing it up, and flying off into the clouds? When you first become a pilot you are restricted to visual flight rules(VFR), in essence, you can fly on nice sunny days but you have to avoid clouds and you can’t fly at night amongst other finer details. While this might sound like a buzzkill, it’s for a young pilot’s safety. Clouds might seem unintimidating, however, they are the cause of a large number of accidents when flying, the majority of which are fatal.
If a pilot is not trained on flying by instruments alone(IFR), upon entering clouds and losing visual references it takes a mere 178 seconds before the pilot loses control of the aircraft. Without the ability to trust their gauges and ignore the inputs of their physical body, a pilot is in serious trouble. Businesses work similarly. You have to trust your data. If you make decisions based on your feelings, rather than hard empirical data you set yourself up for failure.
Loss of Orientation
There are tasks in your business which you inherently prefer to do. You might enjoy creating social content or working on your back end accounting, or you may thoroughly enjoy creating and casting vision for your business. When you work on those things they give you good energy, you enjoy yourself while doing them. From a physiological standpoint, those successes and feel-good activities release dopamine into your brain. They feel good. They are easy, like flying in a beautiful blue sky with large cotton-candy clouds you can easily avoid and admire.
But what happens when you are forced to work on activities you dislike? The ones that you hate like bookkeeping, managing a difficult employee, taxes, etc. The clouds begin to roll in. What happens when something that has worked in the past is no longer effective? Your world darkens and makes navigating difficult. Especially in times of stress, you begin to get desperate. You can be tempted to ‘go by your gut’ or make decisions to make the feelings of unease or discomfort dissipate. This is a recipe for disaster.
Trust Your Metrics
When you aren’t sure what direction to turn to it is time to trust your gauges, your sales metrics, your analytics. Making decisions based on feeling is an excellent way to wind up spinning out of control headed for failure. Without a clear understanding of what aspects of your business are working and what is failing it’s difficult to make that next step. You have to track everything. Meticulously. Feedback is critical.
Without analyzing your cost per action (CPA), average order value (AOV), click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate (CVR), and return on ad spend (ROAS) it’s difficult to have an accurate picture of your business. While these things aren’t sexy, they will keep you from disaster. Treat your data as gospel and follow where it leads. Data will show you what offers your clients are loving and which they dislike. They will show you which products are getting better attention than others and allow you to react accordingly. Not trusting your data is like watching the altimeter falling wildly remarking “this is fine, I think we’re in for smooth flying.” Trust your data and you will find success.
Your gut may help you get lucky in business at times, but it is not a winning strategy. Decisions based on emotions will almost always lead you into danger. One of the scariest moments in business is succeeding but not understanding why. Repeatable, trackable success is the recipe to win big. Just like learning to fly an airplane by the instruments alone, learning to trust the data, and compartmentalize your emotion is a key part of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
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In your service,