Pick your Top 8 KPIs from this list of Top 30 SME KPIs

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Here is a comprehensive list of the Top 30 SME KPIs SMEs should consider :

* Financial Indicators – 10 KPIs
* Business Performance Indicators – 7 KPIs
* Business Generation Indicators – 7 KPIs
* Employer/ee Based Indicators – 4 KPIs
* Risk Indicators – 2 KPIs

This list is by no means comprehensive and there are only indicators – use this information to highlight where to investigate further.

This Top 30 SME KPIs list is a menu not a banquet!
(don’t use all of these at once)

Here is what to do next:

  • Step 1 – Don’t use them all!
  • Step 2 – Choose 8 and build the data collection and reporting of these top 8 into your weekly reporting routine. It is easiest to setup a spreadsheet where you track the data and then create a set of graphs so you can see improvements. Remember, you can chop and change your top 8 KPIs every six months or so as you focus on new areas of your business – but start by setting up, and then stabilising, a few at a time.
    For smaller SMEs the suggested break of your Top 8 is a mix of the following:

    • Financial – three
    • Performance – two
    • Business Generation – one
    • People – one
    • Any other vital parameter – one

    When deciding which 8 are the most important make your choice based on your current business strategy for profitable growth offset with reducing risks to the business.

  • Step 3 – If you are a big enough business to have departments then the Director’s ‘Top 8’ will reflect the above list ; however every department should also have its own top 8 which more heavily reflects their departmental focus.
    e.g. The sales department may have: Two Financial, Five Business Generation, One Performance ,One People , and One measure for Market Environment.


10 Financial Indicators

  1. Profitability – Profit Margin
  2. Solvency – Current Ratio
  3. Gearing – Debt to Equity Ratio
  4. Work-in Progress – WIP Turnover
  5. Debtors – Debtors
  6. Fixed Costs – Fixed Cost Ratio
  7. Variable Costs – Gross Margin
  8. Performance against Budget and Cost – variance reviews
  9. Costs as a % of Revenue – payroll, advertising & marketing
  10. Costs per employee – rent, stationery, travel, phone etc.

7 Business Performance Indicators

  1. Performance against SLAs
  2. Quality of product or service
  3. Response Rates – Inquiries to customer resolution
  4. ROI
  5. Accuracy of reporting – Tax office reports, Payroll runs, etc
  6. Number of Compliance Breeches
  7. Service Availability metrics – up-time, speed, errors etc.

7 Business Generation Indicators

  1. Revenue breakdown by Customer
  2. Revenue Breakdown by Service/Product type
  3. Revenue Sources – lead generation information
  4. Employee Productivity – Sales per Employee = Annual Sales divided by average number of Full Time Equivalent Employees
  5. Client and Referral channels – social media, website, forums etc.
  6. New Business v repeat v referral ratios
  7. Number of Referrals by source

4 Employer/ee Indicators

    1. Employee Lifetime Value (ELTV)
    2. Employer Investment (ROI)
    3. Training Payback Period – total training (or eduction) cost divided by total monthly benefits (eg increased sales)
    4. Profit per employee

NOTE these are not personal performance indicators and so they apply to the business overall, not any one staff member.

2 External Indicators

  1. Risk Levels – Reducing frequency and impact – consider, market, economic, geographic and demographic risks
  2. Resource availability – what scarcity is impacting inputs into your process

For more information see also 6 Steps to Choosing Effective KPIs


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