Setting up a dashboard
Unlike with cars, your business doesn’t have a dashboard before you set one up. Fortunately you don’t need to invent everything from scratch as there are many good sources about the KPIs (key performance indicators) you should monitor in your dashboard (check for example at Shopify and Quickbooks). After having an idea what you need to monitor, you need to have the data gathered to one place (hopefully your software have good APIs. If not, I have bad news for you… You might want to read our blogpost on them). There are many dashboard tools which you might want to check before choosing one as you need to feel comfortable with the tool. Most of the tools have good APIs (and you should choose one with good APIs!) and are relatively easy to setup, even by yourself. But don’t hesitate to use a professional service here. You wouldn’t mess up with your car’s dashboard yourself either!Here’s some KPIs dashboards can monitor
- Funds (or your fuel),
- Burn rate ( or your fuel consumption),
- Revenue (or your driven distance), etc.
Reading the dashboard
So, you have a dashboard ready and it’s showing you numbers! Great job. Now, how do you interpret the numbers? How do you use the dashboard to guide your business to faster roads? While some of the numbers are self-explanatory (Fuel is low —> you need to get more to continue), some need to be analyzed a bit more:
- What can you exactly do, when your speed is what you expected. Just pressing gas pedal (adding cold calls?) is not necessarily the right answer. Perhaps you’re driving with wrong gear and need to shift (check you sales & marketing activities).
- What if the fuel consumption if too high? Cutting the costs (driving slower or throwing some passengers out) is a thing that usually comes to your mind first, but it is not necessarily the right action. Maybe it would be better to get a bigger fuel tank or check if there are shorter routes to your destination.Whatever the dashboard is showing, you need to use time to understand the meaning to find the ways to optimize your business. Also here, I recommend checking the dashboard with your trusted car mechanic (accountant or advisors) - especially if there is something blinking or you don’t know how you should interpret some of the numbers.
In our dashboards we monitor for example the progress how we achieve our monthly and quarterly goals in marketing, sales and onboarding. From these diagrams we can easily see if we’re going to reach our goals with our planned actions or do we need to push the pedal or change the gear.
For us it made sense to have one dashboard for marketing to guide the daily activities and monitor the our campaigns. In Sales we use another dashboard to ensure that we’re processing and closing our leads in the right pace. For the development there’s yet another tool to make sure that we’re keeping on the development track. And in addition we have a general dashboard for the whole company so that everyone can see the most important things from other teams too. At the end we are one big team and need to pull the same string. One big dashboard would have been way too complex to really benefit from it. For us it would have been like having a airplane dashboard in our car. Rather make separate dashboards for your departments than one too complex one which nobody can read and interpret.
Do you already use a dashboard tool? Which one is your favorite? We’d love to hear about your experiences and you have used your dashboard to optimize your route to your destination!