The most recent earnings report from Apple far exceeded analyst estimates. This isn’t new. In fact it happens on a regular basis. Why are analysts surprised quarter after quarter? It’s because they fail to look at the correct data.

Apple has 100 million subscribers that each pay $10 a month for services such as iCloud storage, Apple Music, etc. The analysts are basing their estimates on what chip suppliers are saying about how many iPhone components they sold Apple. This gives analysts a partial idea of how many iPhones are sold, but it leaves out $1 billion in subscriptions (not to mention Mac sales, app sales, and several other lines of income). The reason for this is that they are still looking at Apple as a hardware company, which they haven’t been for several years.

The same applies to your business. If you are looking at outdated information about your business or using metrics they may have works several years ago but you haven’t updated, you don’t have a good picture of your business. You need to ensure you are looking at the whole picture. Looking at sales without looking at cost of goods gives you a false picture. You must periodically review what your data sources are and how accurate they are. If you fail to keep your data sources current, you won’t know what is really going on with your business.