How are you keeping track of your business and its results? Business dashboards can be extremely useful tools for your company and can tell you exactly what is happening with your business, your customers and sales, your marketing efforts, and much more, and all of it in the same place.
In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to use business dashboards to improve your business results, as well as share some useful tools to help you get started right now.
What are business dashboards?
If you’re not familiar with business dashboards, prepare to be introduced to your next favourite business tool: a dashboard that connects all of your different business tools and software.
Business dashboards are essentially management tools that you can use to keep track of all your business data, as well as monitor specific departments within your business (customer care, sales, marketing, and so on).
To give you an example, a business dashboard can tell you at a glance how much traffic you’re getting, how you’re performing on social media, how much cash you have left, what invoices you need to send, and so on.
It all depends on what data matters to you (or to the different departments in your company), as you can customize your dashboard to your liking to make the most of it.
Types of business dashboards
To start with, there are 3 main types of business dashboards: operational dashboards (which track what is happening right at that moment), strategic dashboards (which track your KPIs to help you make important business decisions – i.e. key performance indicators), and analytics dashboards (which help you analyse your business data so you can understand where you are and what to optimise).
Beyond that, though, you can create different types of business dashboards for all of your departments; for example:
- Sales dashboard: see how you’re performing in terms of sales, how many new sales you’ve made this month, what your salespeople are up to, and so on – it really depends on what metrics and KPIs matter to you and what tools you use
- Social media dashboard: quickly check how your social media is performing, track engagement stats across social profiles, see new followers, etc.
- Marketing dashboard: likewise, you can keep track of all of your marketing efforts in one, see how your website and blog are performing, how many new leads you’ve generated, your email marketing stats, etc.
- Customer/customer experience dashboard: connect live chat tools, CRMs, and other customer-focused tools to keep track of customer care, customer interactions, and more
- Team dashboard: see in real time who is working on what, what projects are currently in progress, and monitor team performance
- Money management dashboard: see at a glance important information about your cash flow, such as how much cash you have left, how much money you’re owed, how much tax you need to pay, and so on
As I mentioned before, it’s up to you how you build your dashboard and how you use it. Each business and industry has its own specific needs and that’s the beauty of these dashboards: you can customize them to suit your needs and so that everyone on your team has immediate access to all the business information and data they need. Furthermore, it also depends on the tools you’re using; so if you want to see specific data, you can probably find a tool that can pull it for you (and that can be connected to your business dashboard as well).
This way, you’re helping your whole team be more organised and more focused.
Here are some of the best tools to help you build your very own business dashboard:
9 Spokes is a free tool that allows you to connect your different business apps and tools in order to build and customize your own business dashboard.
Once you’ve created an account, you can start browsing through their list of accredited apps and tools to start adding the ones you want to your dashboard; alternatively, this is also a pretty great way to discover other tools and software – some free, some not, but what’s important is that you can test with a free trial.
Or, if you’re not sure where to start, you can get some app recommendations based on your business and industry.
9 Spokes works with a lot of popular and widely-used tools (like Google Analytics, MailChimp, Wix, and many more) in 9 different categories including sales, money (and accounting), and customers, so you can keep track of customer care, your website’s live chat, and so on.
Once you’ve connected your different apps, you can start adding widgets to your dashboard so you can customize it to your liking and focus on what you want; for example:
Klipfolio is another popular option; it connects with hundreds of different services to help you build your ideal business dashboard: analytics tools, email marketing software, online advertising, marketing, finance, sales and CRM tools, and many others.
To start building your dashboard, you have a few different options:
- Create one completely from scratch
- Use pre-built “klips” to add metrics and visualizations to your dashboards
- And use pre-built dashboard templates (although these aren’t usually enough to get a complete overview of your business)
As for starting from scratch and building the dashboard yourself, it does involve some work and it get a bit complicated – but it’s worth it to create something that is completely tailored to your needs. For example, you can customize how your data will be presented (different chart types, change the line appearance, and so on), and create custom visualizations:
Or, if you want to take an easier route, use the templates and pre-built klips to help.
Cyfe is a business dashboard that you can build and customize using pre-built widgets to pull data from different apps and tools (like 9 Spokes earlier).
By using Cyfe, you can monitor pretty much anything that has to do with your business, including: your social media marketing and other marketing campaigns, your clients and customers, web analytics, sales and finance, your different projects, and your website and app performance.
It’s easy to use and build your dashboard and you have access to several customization options to make it your own (including creating branded reports for your clients, partners, and/or bosses).
Another useful feature is that you can actually take some action too; for example, not only can you use social media monitoring to keep track of your social media efforts, but you can also plan and schedule your social media updates using Cyfe.
Business dashboards can help you:
- Be more organised and effective
- Keep track of your KPIs and continuously optimise
- Keep track of your finances in real time
- Get instant access to important and critical data
- Make all of your employees’ lives easier
And the beauty of it is that you can build and customize it however you want.
Do you use a business dashboard to keep track of your business? If so, how does it help?