by Sreeram Sreenivasan, founder of Ubiq
As business owners, we need to regularly keep an eye on all the important activities and processes in our business; figure out which areas are doing and scale them, find out which areas are not doing well and fix them.
But, how to regularly monitor the various areas of your business? How to identify growth opportunities & risks so that you can respond quickly? Pulling out required information from various systems and going through them may be fine, once in a while. But doing it every day or every week can be tedious and time consuming. On the other hand, without this information, you have to run your business using guesswork.
That’s where business dashboards come in.
A small business dashboard is an easy-to-read display of charts & numbers that shows you all the key information about your business, in one place. It provides at-a-glance status of your business so that you can monitor the health of your business regularly; identify growth opportunities and risks instantly. They automatically update based on latest data so you don’t need to rebuild or reconfigure anything.
Business dashboards can help boost your small business in 6 key ways as follows:
1. Gain complete visibility into your business.
Just as the dashboard of your automobile tells you how fast you are going or if you are running low on fuel, a business dashboard tells you how your business is doing, if something is wrong or right. You can use business dashboards to regularly monitor all the important numbers about your business like total sales, daily sales, new customers added, etc. in one place. You can even see their progress over time and understand how your business has grown. This helps you keep track of how every area of your business is doing, spot any issues early on, and fix them immediately.
2. Get immediate answers to business questions
As business owners, we have so many questions every day, which need immediate answers. E.g., how many people signed up yesterday? Did we hit our monthly sales target? What is the revenue this month? By how much did it grow compared to the previous month? Without this information, we have to rely on guesswork, to make decisions. Dashboards automate the tasks of number crunching & data processing, and directly provide you the final numbers. This enables you to spend more time running your business instead of looking for information. Having relevant information at hand helps you make better decisions, faster.
3. Identify growth opportunities.
In order to grow our business, we try out various initiatives and find out which ones work, so that we can focus more resources on them. E.g. we try out multiple marketing channels, introduce promotional offers, provide new product features, etc. Business dashboards allow us to measure the performance of our efforts, and quickly decide which ones should be pursued further. They provide immediate visual feedback in the form of numbers & charts. For example, if you have launched a new marketing campaign, you can see how it impacts this month’s sales. Such immediate feedback enables you to quickly identify growth opportunities and move forward.
4. Increase productivity.
Dashboards help you measure performance numerically. They indicate if something is doing well (e.g. using green color) or not doing well (e.g. using red color). This enables your team to focus on the numbers that matter to your business – grow the numbers that are doing well and improve the ones that are not doing well. You can iteratively see the results of your efforts on a dashboard and perform course correction accordingly.
5. Monitor costs & expenses regularly.
Business dashboards can be used to monitor your business’ financial data in one place. You can see how much you are spending, compared to your business plan. You can monitor your costs & expenses over time, think about what adjustments can be made.
6. Increase profits.
Dashboards enable you to monitor revenues & expenses regularly, in one place. You can even break out these numbers by various sources (e.g., revenue from direct sales, content marketing, SEO, Social media, etc.) and compare the cost associated with each revenue source. This helps you see the ROI (Return on Investment) for each source and try out various initiatives to increase sales, reduce costs and improve profits.
Being able to monitor all the important information about your business, on-demand, in one place, gives you a tremendous advantage over your competition. You know precisely how your business is doing, which areas are growing well and what to fix, while they spend most of their time on the wrong tasks.
Sreeram Sreenivasan is the founder of Ubiq, a web-based Dashboard Reporting Application for SMBs. He’s interested in the latest Business Technologies & Trends. Before Ubiq, he has helped Fortune 500 companies in various Consulting & Data Analysis projects. You can get in touch with him on LinkedIn.