These days, small businesses have no lack of data. You can run analytics for how well your Facebook posts are doing, the open rate for your e-newsletter, shopping cart abandons, what time of day products sell best, and a whole lot more.
The question is not whether you generate data – you do – but rather, do you have the time or insight as to how to digest these numbers and determine what they mean for your small business goals?
That’s where a good dashboard comes in handy. In the parlance of analytics, this is called Business Intelligence, or BI. The good news: Several innovative companies have created a slew of BI tools to analyze and interpret your data.
So which dashboards are worth your time and can best help you run your business?
Here are some of my favorites:
Bank of America® Cash Flow Monitor: This is a superior financial dashboard from our friends at Bank of America. Cash Flow Monitor is a digital tool designed to make it easy for small business owners to manage the various financial aspects of their business, especially the all-important cash flow.
Available to any Bank of America client with a business deposit account, Cash Flow Monitor provides a birds-eye view of business cash flow and access to real-time expertise and guidance. With Cash Flow Monitor you can:
- Create and graphically display cash-flow projections
- Integrate account information to easily keep track of finances
- Manually adjust projections with additional data like new sales
- Set up cash flow thresholds and display them graphically and add alerts when adjustments may be needed
Dasheroo: Dasheroo began as a tool that collected and curated social media data. You could compare your Facebook Likes and Insights, Twitter follows and analytics, Instagram hits and so forth all in one place. Simply set up your customer Dasheroo dashboard, attach your different accounts, and the system would give visually interesting analysis and insight of all of your social media metrics.
Now, Dasheroo allows you to corral data from many of your other useful business apps, including:
- Google Analytics
You get the idea. A great analytical tool.
Zoho Reports: Most of these dashboards offer the same eye candy functionality. That is, you have access to:
- Beautiful dashboards
- Drag & drop report creation
- Visually stunning graphics
Zoho offers this as well. By taking the headache out of producing reports, Zoho Reports makes it easy to generate clear, powerful, useful reports based on your data.
Board: According to Board, “We feature some of the best data visualization tools available alongside in-depth planning and forecasting functionality, providing users with a consistent, self-service, fully integrated approach to reporting, analysis, simulation, and planning.” With Board you can:
- Plan, monitor and get insight into your sales processes
- Track, analyze and plan your sales "lead to revenue" process
- Plan and analyze across the entire supply chain management
- Streamline workforce planning and get better insights into human resources performance
- Automate financial planning and analyze business performance down to operations
And these are just a start. Check out some of the tools listed here – you, and your business will be better for it.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned. All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
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