Toronto-based online invoicing up-start FreshBooks announced today the release of quarterly industry benchmarks based on anonymized aggregate data of all FreshBooks users. And with over 500,000 users to date, this data is going to have real value for small business people.
We’re releasing these benchmarks because the professionals that FreshBooks serves do not have access to the kind of performance information most other industries take for granted. The service oriented professionals that FreshBooks serves - web designers, copy writers, dog walkers, management consultants, magicians, interior designers, ISPs, computer technicians - can’t go to places like Dun and Bradstreet and buy a report about their industry. Even if they did, they’d find the metrics covered to be mostly useless to their way of evaluating the day to day performance of their business, so I’m hopeful that business owners will use this data to steer their business in the right direction in any kind of weather.
Freshbooks customers or fans are likely familiar with their report card service that gives FreshBooks account holders a quarterly snapshot of their business based on a handful of useful metrics (average time to collect payment, etc). These new industry benchmarks are similiar to the report card service however Freshbooks account holders will have access to far richer data - for example, at the profession level rather than just industry level.
Sounds like a great idea, especially when CEO Mike McDerment explains it: