When it comes to evaluating your business, are you more of a numbers cruncher or an introspective learner? Can you be both? Should you be both?

Business evaluations traditionally begin with the analytics of sales records measured against operating expenses. For business owners who gravitate to numbers crunching, these tools provide the immediate scale of profit or loss. No business can prosper and succeed without attention to the analytics, but with generational changes in ownership, shifts are occurring in both the crunch and heart of business analysis.

The crunch is straightforward. As a business owner or manager, along with your accountants and tax professionals, you assess where the business shows profits and build on that success or determine where adjustments are required. Heart is a more introspective search for the “why” of success – or lack thereof – and how to connect, or reconnect, with your mission from the ground up.

Sounding a bit too philosophical? Consider the major corporations which just recently and publically pledged efforts to get more “in touch” with their customers’ needs. Many of these companies announced their intentions to move back to their original mission – or why they began in the first place.

What is at the heart of your own business? You can poke fun at having to create your mission and vision statements, or you can utilize these foundational thoughts as your way to continually track and measure success. Ask yourself what is behind the numbers that account for peaks and valleys during the year. What was happening in your organization when sales increased or slumps occurred? Along with crunching the numbers, dig a little deeper to uncover how you relate to customers and the correlation of keeping to your core mission while pushing for increased profits.

Sales and leadership guru Stephen Covey is quoted as saying “A mission statement is not something you write overnight, but fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.”

Producing a product or providing a service is a functionary task, and we all have the capabilities to do that work well. Building a business around the function involves layering production with smart marketing and a sense of concern about what your customers really want. After all, seeking and retaining customers is just as much introspective discovery as it is about numbers crunching. It is as Covey notes: how you measure everything in life and business.

This year as you begin to evaluate your business, embrace the analytics but take the time to dig beneath the surface of the charts and graphs to measure success against your core mission – the heart of your organization. Combining the two together could reveal some surprising discoveries!

The above information is provided for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.