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In his recent book Management Challenges for the 21st Century, renowned management consultant Peter Drucker suggests that most businesses need better measurement tools in order to improve how they manage their business activity.

Tools used to measure business performances are crucial for all managers. All areas of business can benefit from defining and monitoring appropriate metrics to measure their effectiveness.

Many tools for measuring business metrics are readily available. The personal computer, databases and spreadsheet programs, as well as new tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, make easy work of summarizing and finding meaning in business data.

However, collecting data doesn't need to be a hi-fi affair; many small businesses find great benefits in simple spreadsheets or paper forms.

Michael Alter is President of SurePayroll. His payroll outsourcing firm processes and remits payroll taxes for small businesses across the country. He is a contributer to The Payroll Blog and Inc.com's Trade Secrets.