“Can’t see the forest for the trees..” is part of an expression used when you are too close or too involved to see something you need to see.

This is where averages can be useful. They let you zoom out on the situation. They give you a broader view.

Sometimes all you need is to take a step back to see things clearly. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

You may recall that we wrote about a tree in the forest on page 11 in our Q1 Benchmark Report.

Like the trees in a forest, your business consists of a lot of data, but it’s possible you could be too close to see what you need to see. And like a tree that falls in the forest that no one is around to hear, there are things you can ever really know.

The thing about making sense of the data in your business is that you need a lot of it over time to see what is happening. And you need the right data in the right format.

The key is to collect the essential data about your business every day and organize it in a way that is useful.

Looking at averages is just one way to see your data. But not all averages are created equal. For example, there are the mean, median, and mode averages, and each has it purpose.

I once heard someone jokingly say: “If you put one foot on a block of ice and another on a fire, your average temperature would be just right.”

This is an example of the misuse of a mean average.

That’s the thing about averages… context matters. And, within the proper context, averages can be a powerful tool… like when you compare the average number of engagements to daily tickets, you get a salesperson’s conversion rate.

There are many ways to see your data and improve your business. But there may be times that you are too close and need to take a step back to see the forest through the trees. And like a tree that falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, there may be things you can never really know.

In a couple of weeks, the Doorcounts™ team will be releasing our white paper on the store of the future. Make sure you are signed up to get an early release as soon as it’s finished.