It’s not surprise that entrepreneurs and small business owners often find themselves stretched thin. The dream of growing a business is an exciting one, but it requires long hours, big decisions and a lot of elbow grease. There’s little time to spend on getting organized or giving a luxury feel to the inner workings of your business and making those big business decisions – well it’s hard without having everything you need in one place.
When you look at the inner working of a car, all the info appears in one place – the dashboard. Whether it’s a luxury car or a clunker, the system works to help get you where you need to go – giving you more time to focus on everything else. Just like a car, your business needs a dashboard, or somewhere you can go to see how all the parts of your business are working together.
Here are 4 reasons we think every business owner should have a business dashboard:
Monitoring Your Brand in Social Media
It’s easy to go cross-eyed when you think about managing your social media. Just making sure you’ve got a consistent presence on a multitude of platforms can be a full time job, but to make sure that presence is communicating effectively with your target audience, and that what you’re saying is converting to sales… well that’s a whole different story. Using a business dashboard to track social media is just plain smart (not to mention necessary). Dashboards all you you all the insight because you pick the metrics you want to watch, and you can schedule multiple platforms (up to 30) in one place – allowing you to have a presence without spending all the time in your daily schedule to appear on all platforms. Check out Hootsuite and Dasheroo.
Operate in Real-Time
Checking sales numbers, processing receivables, and serving customers has never been easier. There’s no longer a need to rely on bulky reports that are run weekly or monthly. Business dashboards allow all these things and more to be streamlined and viewed in real time (or as close to real time as possible). Here’s our short list on how business dashboards can help you operate in real-time more often:
- update your receivables on a daily basis – making it easy to check on past due accounts and keeping them top of mind for you and the clients who are paying you
- see how sales are trending right now and be able to implement actions that will help you meet your benchmarks
- easily gather information from past months and years into one place so you can create better forecasts and look at year over year trends. The idea of being able to forecast is no longer just something done by big business
- when orders come in information goes a lot of different directions. Connect all the moving parts through 1 dashboard so the process is streamlined, silos are depleted and everyone knows the status of every order at any given time
See More, Manage Smarter
A picture is worth a 1000 words – and understanding data through a chart or graph usually quickens understanding when compared to dredging through a spreadsheet to find the same information. Within spreadsheets or written reports, important insights drawn from data can be buried -most dashboards allow for chats and graphs, which are better forms for communicating important points quickly, because they’re visual.
Communicate with the Entire Team
Silos, lack of real-time information, and communication gaps between teams are excuses of the past. The internet, smart phones & iPads have made the ability to communicate and check information in real-time a reality. So why haven’t we started to communicate better? Expectations. It’s easy to not rise to the occasion when the bar hasn’t been raised and as the boss, you’re the one who gets to demand more from yourself, your employees, and your business.
If you haven’t already implemented a system that allows frequent communication between all the working parts of your business – now is the time, and using a business dashboard will make it that much easier. Invest the few hours to get yourself and your team setup and then expect great things.
How could business dashboards help your business? Take 10 minutes and explore how to improve your existing dashboards or get your small business started with a dashboard and headed for success.
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.