What’s Measured Matters: Edward Jones

Just a few days ago I was lucky enough to get a meeting with my local Edward Jones office to hopefully learn something helpful for Salty Waffle and our readers. I went in expecting to be a boggled by what they do on a daily basis and I was right. Personally, I don’t like dealing with numbers, I don’t like spreadsheets, I don’t like math, and I don’t like that there is usually one right answer that I got wrong.

Edward Jones
"Because none of us has one of these..."

I learned a bit about the foundation of the company and how it operates which was jaw-dropping in its own right—they have over 12,000 locations in their network. But, what I was most interested in was the numbers, specifically, trying to get a grasp on how important knowing the numbers is for people and what the benefits of that knowledge is.

I didn’t need to remind anyone at Edward Jones of the importance of numbers, their entire business relies on careful analysis, tracking, and management of accounts and portfolios for their customers. They are literally paid to do the measuring, that is, keep track of the numbers.

In your own business, the numbers can be intimidating, especially as you grow. It will be easy to forget things, get behind, and lose track of where you sit financially. While you may not have the luxury of hiring one of the financial advisors at Edward Jones in your personal life or for your business, you can learn a lesson from them.

In talking, I learned that the majority of what they do is kind of a form of counseling. However, they don’t talk at all in abstracts; they get down and dirty with your finances. The process starts with working out an accurate picture of your entire situation that may include investments, income, debt, savings, retirement plans, etc. Once that is established, they work to create a tailored personal portfolio with you. Depending on each case, they make recommendations, update you, and otherwise package and manage your financials in a way that is helpful for making decisions and getting your money somewhere it can grow. You cannot make the best decision without knowing the information. That seems obvious but, for far too many small companies not knowing the financials leads to their downfall.

The takeaway from looking at Edward Jones is that you need to start by getting a clear picture of where you stand before you make decisions. Equally important is staying up on that information as it changes over time. Everything they do is contingent on careful, constant analysis of the market and they wouldn’t be successful in their industry if they didn’t live by the numbers.

You need to live by the numbers as well, especially in this world. You may not be able to do it was elegantly as Edward Jones, but you will have to find a way to track and maintain a numerical snapshot of your company so that you can make the best decisions and continue to thrive. What is measured matters.

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