A dashboard is such an important concept when it comes to easily accessing the health of a business.
Just like a the dashboard on a vehicle, the point of a business dashboard is to give you a quick look at whatever it is that’s important to your business in real-time.
The key, of course, to any tool designed to give you data, it’s only as good as what feeds it.
The real challenge in creating something like a business dashboard is knowing what to track and how to track it. The display part is a function of software at that point.
Creating a list of key strategic indicators for your business is always a great idea. The trick is to move beyond the obvious things like revenue creation and unearth the real drivers of revenue creation.
- Tracking the number of referrals or customer testimonials might be more important than just tracking sales vs. projected sales.
- Tracking the number of support calls might be more important than just tracking the number of new customers.
- Tracking repeat order frequency might be a better indicator of health than just tracking new business.
- Tracking average order size or even Facebook page likes might tell you more than monthly sales to date.
- Tracking newsletter unsubscribes might be a faster measure of content value than new subscribers
Okay, you get the point. You’ve got to dig in and start looking at lots of stuff before you can truly understand what’s driving what.
One of the best ways to start this process is to define three or four core objectives for the coming year and then assign one or two goals or measurable indicators to each that will let you track your progress on your primary objectives.
I’m not suggesting that things like new customers, revenue and profit aren’t important, but I’m suggesting that tracking what really makes them happen is far more important day in and day out.
There are many tools available to create dashboards, including Gecko Board and Cyfe. Many spreadsheet experts and template creators are also able to bend and display data as a dashboard.
One of my favorite tools is Google Analytics Dashboards. You can create any custom layout, filter and goal and display it as your home dashboard. You can create specific dashboard for tracking things such as SEO or social media.
You can also share your dashboards. So if you find one that works you can make it available to clients by simply sharing a link with them. Also, check out Dashboard Junkie for some ready made dashboards and dashboard and tracking ideas.