Using Dashboards to Drive What Matters

A dashboard is such an important concept when it comes to easily accessing the health of a business.

business dashboard

photo credit: istargazer via photopin cc

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.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Zouras

    Hello and thank you very much for the great post! My personal experience showed me that if you are not able to track everything in your business then you will simply fail because you actually don’t know what works and what doesn’t for you!!

    • OBVAVirtualAssistant

      I could not agree
      more Zouras. I also feel that the first cause to failure is if we are not
      tracking everything in our business.

  • Stephen Lynch

    Hi John. make dashboarding software for small – mid sized growth firms. You probably need 10 – 100 staff to get the most benefit from it however. With it, you can monitor your business at a glance from both a desktop and iPhone.

  • Dan Norris

    Hi John awesome. I launched my dashboard app today would love you to check it out. My app is aimed at the average business owner who is time poor and doesn’t want to spend a lot of it looking through stats (and it also overwhelmed by other products).

  • MicroSourcing

    Great tips for tracking business activity. The sales team should have access to a dashboard where they can keep track of inquiries, calls and transactions.

  • Eileen Lonergan

    I have just jumped onto the new platform from and love it!

    • Dan Norris

      Thanks Eileen!

  • Terri Z

    I’m curious, John. How often do you suggest looking at/analyzing the data on your dashboard? I do it monthly (I’m currently just using a spreadsheet, although these tools sound intriguing!)

    • ducttape

      Terry – that’s a bit of a tough one. There are many things that a monthly check in work fine for but there are some things that should be monitored in order to know if you’re getting results.

      There are some things I like to monitor daily in real time like traffic because it gives me an indication of whether my blog post is getting traction.

      • Terri Z

        Good point, John. I hadn’t thought of it, but since I am focusing on building my FB fan page presence/reach, I look at that daily.

  • Software & Web App Development

    Very informative post.

  • iPhone Application Development

    Great article. I got something new information about DESHBOURD from your article. Thanks

  • Wordpress Development India

    great source to know more about dashboard fertility. Good guidance..And i would like to refer my friends also who are looking up for this..