business coaching

Superhero Alerts: How to Build Your Business Dashboard

It’s critical for superheroes to be in the right place at the right time. The same holds true for business owners.

As a business owner, there are so many demands on your time. Even if you have a strong team, you probably wish one of your superpowers was the ability to be in two places at once! Superheroes have help with this: the author writes the script so it works out (unless they use “wrong place, wrong time” to propel the plot e.g. the Dark Knight or Superman: The Movie). Sometimes authors even resort to time travel! Unfortunately, business owners do not have the advantage of a script nor do they have access to time traveling technology.

What if you had a “bat signal” for your business? Just like Batman is alerted when he is needed, you could be directed to exactly the right place at exactly the right time. In this post, we’re going to discuss the business equivalent of a “bat signal”: your Business Dashboard, and it’s an integral piece of a Superhero Business.

A business dashboard helps you run your business in the same way that the instrument cluster in your car helps you drive. The dashboard is a set of indicators that tells you how your business is doing, and what areas require attention. These indicators are also called metrics, analytics, key performance indicators (KPI), etc. Terminology aside, it’s a set of measures that tells you how the business is doing. Usually, this information is updated weekly or monthly.

If you’re not using a business dashboard, you’re operating business by instinct. This might be OK when you’re focused…but what if you have a bad day? Or something really unusual happens? Or if you just want to take a vacation and let someone else mind the business for a couple of weeks? You need something consistent, objective, and clear. You need a business dashboard.

Here is the 4-Step process to create your business dashboard:

Step 1. Pick one key metric from each of the following categories:
1. Sales / Revenue
2. Cost
3. Cash Flow

Step 2. Determine how often you want to measure them: weekly or monthly.

Step 3. Choose trigger values for each metric. When the metric hits this value, you need to focus on it.

Step 4. Put the systems and processes in place to report the metrics. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or as complex as specialized business software. What’s most important is that you implement something quickly, and it continues to work. You will improve it over time.

Once you have this basic dashboard in place and it’s working for you, you can add other metrics (be careful not too add too many). Metrics can also come from other areas of the business, such as:

Employee Engagement
Throughput
Quality
Customer Loyalty

A good business dashboard is easy to update, provides clear direction, and is easy to understand. It’s a powerful asset in your Superhero Business.

Now I want to hear from you: what are the benefits of dashboards in your business? What are the challenges? What metrics do you use (or would like to measure)?

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