I have always tried to run my practice as the business that it was. As such, I used certain numbers or metrics to evaluate how I was doing. I did this when I started out and every step along the way as my practice grew.
I think branding is very important. Everyone and every business has a brand. Inattention to branding creates a brand that might not be what you would like, but nevertheless you will have a brand. Branding needs deliberate attention.