Who's Counting?

What's It Cost?

To make sure your scorecard reflects your company's strategy, design it with the help of your most senior employees, Norton says. Take some time over a period of several months to discuss your strategy. Come up with ways to measure performance of that strategy. Then devise a way to let everybody know how the company's doing on a regular basis.

Over time, every employee in your company should begin to make decisions that will move your business closer to achieving your goals, as measured on the scorecard. "The simple act of looking at [the scorecards] will change behavior," Norton says.

It's working at Certifiedemail.com. One of Coursey's chief concerns is controlling costs, and he recounts an instance when a wasteful practice came to his attention through a scorecard data-collection effort. "It showed me a way to save money," Coursey says. "And it was something I may not have seen without this feedback."

While it can save money, scorecarding involves some cash outlays as well. Executive time can be a big cost. Gathering data is another. Certifiedemail.com devotes half of one person's time to scorecarding. And surveys like the ones Walker Information does can cost $4,000 and up.

But knowing the score is worth it--and then some, say scorecarding fans. "Some people think it's a waste of time, energy and money for a small company, but I don't think so," says Coursey. "It keeps you in tune with what's going on."

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This article was originally published in the July 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Who's Counting?.

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