Kraig Kramers' key tool for tracking your business's ongoing progress: the trailing 12-month chart (or trailing 52-week chart).
(This eliminates seasonal variations and anomalies vs. standard monthly P&Ls.)
Standard accounting systems were set up by accountants for their own needs, says Kramers. "They weren't meant to run businesses by."
Most powerful performance-tracking tool: What causes sales in your business?
EG, at Kramers' former printing business, it was sales people that drove sales. So he hired more of them.
It could also be direct mail, advertising, trade shows, or referrals. Find out what is the key sales driver. "Grab hold and start managing it."
And don't tackle three or four or five of these tactics at once. According to the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule), 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results.
Kramers mentions that more info and templates for a lot of tools are available free on his website at http://www.ceotools.com/
When you have these tools, he says, you have the key to Jim Collins' bus. (Remember him? "Get the right people on the bus.")