You may or may not know that I had a previous career working in corporate retail. I often think back to the time and remember when Rachel on Friends got a job as a buyers assistant at Ralph Lauren. She would smoke just to hang out with her co-workers. I never did this, but the smoke room was a place and everyone was in there! It had to be the stress of the job. Stress to make numbers. And that always meant making your goal or at the very least, beating last year.
In the early days of my business, I started tracking in a small two-column spreadsheet just this year vs last year in sales for my business. Instead of looking and my whole profit and loss statement, I found it less complicated to focus on simply beating last year’s sales. In 2011, I decided to take the time to start tracking it monthly.
Knowing my strong months in a year has been invaluable and seeing my weaker months has motivated me to work hard to even out the flow of incoming business.
I’ve attached a sample excel sheet for you to download including an empty sheet (formulas in place) if you don’t have this system in place yet. I maintain mine on Google Drive.
There are two formulas that will give you the same result:
(This Year – Last Year) ÷ Last Year or (This Year / Last Year) – 1
If you haven’t started tracking your sales by month to compare to last year, now is a good time to do it. You’ll have a full year to track. Just pull the numbers from your accounting system. I know most accounting systems can run a report, but I have found that having the spreadsheet in front of you has more impact.
Do you track this year vs last year?