If you’re a small business owner and aren’t running your business with the help of a dashboard, you’re in luck. Why? Because with the right dashboard, you’ll gain key advantages. You’ll save tremendous amounts of time, reduce your stress, and increase sales and profits. Sound too good to be true? Read below and you’ll learn how and why this is possible.
What is a small business dashboard?
A small business dashboard is a series of charts and graphs that show exactly what’s going on in your business.
For instance, one chart might show your total sales to date for the month. Another might show the amount of account receivables you have. With the right charts and graphs in your dashboard, you’ll be able to quickly see the financial health of your business.
The benefits of having a dashboard
The right small business dashboard will give you six key benefits as follows:
Gives you total visibility into your business. You know exactly what’s going on at all times. You know what’s working and what’s not working. For instance, your dashboard could show you exactly how your last email blast to your customers went. How many people opened the email? How much sales did it bring in? Such answers should automatically appear on your dashboard. Compare this to most business owners who have to login to their email system, or ask someone else to do it.
Saves time. How much time do you or your staff spend creating reports in Excel or other spreadsheet programs? Any report that you create more than once should go in your dashboard. And once in your dashboard, the report can be programmed to update every hour.
Improves results: Bob Parson’s, the founder of GoDaddy, said it best when he quipped, “Measure everything of significance. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.” The fact is that when you see your key metrics in your dashboard, you intuitively start improving your results. To this end, the best dashboards automatically show success indicators, such as a green arrow facing up when you’re doing well and a red arrow facing down when you’re not. When you see the red arrows, you naturally want to fix those areas so they become green. And you do, and sales and profits soar as a result.
Reduces stress: every day I receive an email from my small business dashboard. The email includes a one-page summary of my business. It starts with my Profits, then shows my sales, then email results, advertising results, customer service results, etc. For each of these key metrics I see my results month-to-date and how it compares to the previous month and previous year (color coded with green arrows facing up when I’m doing better than the last periods and red arrows facing down when I’m not). I can thus quickly scan every aspect of my business to see how I’m doing. And if there’s a problem (e.g., revenue from email marketing is down), I know precisely who in my company to contact to fix the problem. So even if I’m not in the office, I can rest easy, since I know exactly how my business is performing, and exactly which areas need improvement.
Increases productivity: dashboards allow you to measure performance numerically. For instance, your customer service manager could see metrics such as the return rate, the average speed of answering phone calls, etc. Importantly, when they see their performance numerically, particularly if you use the green and red arrows mentioned above, they’ll naturally work harder to improve their performance and results.
Increases profits: As discussed, your dashboard shows you exactly which areas of your business are performing poorly. When you know this, you know exactly where to focus your time to increase results. Conversely, your competitors probably don’t know this, and thus spend their time in the wrong areas. By knowing precisely what’s working in your business and what’s not, it’s simple to increase both sales and profits.
What to include in your dashboard?
There are 10 main areas I like to include in a small business dashboard:
Financial Performance: showing information such as profits, profit margins and cash balance
Revenue/Sales: showing charts such as sales per day and sales of your top selling products/services
Conversion Funnels: detailing where in your conversion funnel you’re losing customers
Website: showing the amount of visitors to your website, how they are finding you, etc.
Advertising: to show the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns, such as how many leads or sales each dollar of advertising is bringing in
Email Marketing: showing information such as how many emails you sent out, how many were opened, and how much revenue they generated
Social Media: to tell the precise return on investment you are getting from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
Sales Team: to show you exactly how each sales person is doing in detail; for instance, their total sales, number of leads, proposal close percentage, etc.
Customer Service: to identify results such as number of refunds, number of open and closed tickets, etc.
Product/Service Fulfillment: to show how many services and/or products you’ve delivered or built, percentage of on-time delivery, etc.
As you can imagine, having all this information available on-demand in your dashboard, gives you a huge advantage over your competition. You know precisely how your business is performing and what to fix, while they spend the majority of their time on the wrong tasks. So, strongly consider getting a small business dashboard today so you can gain these key advantages.
Forbes Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.