Posted on 20 July, 2018  |  4 mins

Lilach Bulloch image 9 Spokes You know what business apps are, you understand their benefits, you even use a few in your business. Are you now interested in setting up your own business dashboard? If so, you’re in the right place. Guest blogger and business coach Lilach Bullock talks us through the process.


Business dashboards are extremely useful tools—not just the CEO or the executives, but every team and department involved—as they improve efficiency, productivity and results.

In this blog post, I’m going to share the five steps to setting up your own business dashboard for improved efficiency.

Why do you need a business dashboard?

Business dashboards help your entire business and every department within it.

They help you keep track of all your activity, your finances, your business objectives and your KPIs (key performance indicators) at any given time. And another great thing they do: they connect all of your apps and tools in one place, so you don’t have to access them one by one, but rather see all of the information that interests you together.

This helps you save time and become more organised. And, since you’ll have literally instant access to all of the information you need about your business, you’ll also be able to make better business decisions overall.

So, if you want to boost your entire teams’ productivity and effectiveness, here is what you need to do to set up your own business dashboard.

Step 1: What kind of business dashboard do you need?

Before you start connecting any apps or setting anything up, you first need to decide what kind of business dashboard you need. The dashboard is there to help you, but you also need to know how to leverage it.

There are three main types of business dashboards:

  • Operational dashboards: these are dashboards that track all of the daily activities of your business. They differ between departments—for example, an operational dashboard for the sales department would hold information such as total sales made that month and number of free trials generated, among others.
  • Analytical dashboards: as the name suggests, analytical dashboards are all about data. They focus on historical data, so that you can find patterns and solutions
  • Strategic dashboards: strategic dashboards are all about the big picture. They help you track business performance over a period of time, to help you make better business decisions and measure your objectives

However, it’s up to you how you want to build your business dashboard. After all, that’s the beauty of these dashboards: you have complete control over the information you want to see.

Step 2: Start connecting your existing apps and software

Now that’s we’ve talked more about business dashboards and how they work, it’s time to start building one from scratch.

You’re likely using certain apps and software already – such as Google Analytics for tracking your website traffic, MailChimp for email marketing, or Twitter and Facebook, for tracking your social media performance.

You can see all of the options once you click on “connect an app” in your main dashboard.

How to set up your 9 Spokes business dashboard

All of the apps are arranged into categories to make it easier to find the ones you’re using and so you don’t forget about any important specialty apps.

Once you find an app you want to add, just click on it to connect it—it takes seconds. Rinse and repeat for all the apps and software you use. It doesn’t mean they’re added to your dashboard, so don’t worry about overloading your dashboard with too many apps; you get to customise your dashboard to your liking, as I’ll show you later.

Step 3: Discover other useful business apps and software

This is also a good opportunity to discover more business apps and software that could be useful to your business. The right apps can make a huge difference to your productivity as a business and, in some cases, even help you improve your business results.

Head over to “Connect” from your dashboard’s menu and you’ll see a list of all the apps available. To make your browsing easier, you can check out the apps by categories, or you can filter the results so you only see what is relevant to your industry.

If you like the sound of an app, click on “view details” to learn more about it.

5 Steps to setting up your business dashboard 4

You get information about what the software does, as well as what their pricing model is and what the starting price is, or if there is a free plan available.

They also mention if the tool has a free trial available (and thankfully, most do) so you can just click on “get a trial” to try it out. If it helps your business—keep it; if not, there are other options you can explore until you find the right tools for you.

Step 4: Customise your business dashboard with widgets

By now, you have all of your apps set up and connected, it’s finally time to put together your dashboard.

It’s very easy to do: on your dashboard, click on “add to my dashboard” to see your options; it will open up the widget library.

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These widgets display all kinds of useful information pulled from your apps and software; you can find the widgets you want to add just like you find apps—browse through the lists in the categories that interest you.

If you’re not sure what a widget does exactly, you can hover over it and click on the information sign to find out more.

If you want to add a widget to your library, once again hover over it, only this time, click on the “+” sign. Keep adding all of the widgets you want and afterwards, you can easily customise their location on the dashboard by dragging and dropping them where you want.

Step 5: Understanding and using your business dashboard

Once you’ve set up all of your widgets, you’re pretty much done. Unless of course you want to add more apps, or keep customising your dashboard.

Now it’s all about leveraging your business dashboard. There’s the obvious way, saving time accessing your business data, but perhaps the bigger benefit to using a business dashboard is when you use it to improve your results.

However, the way you use your dashboard does depend on you and the type of dashboard you’ve created. Generally, the underlying message is the same: business dashboards help you understand what to focus on and they give you a fuller picture of your business performance, so you can make better decisions based on actual data.

Conclusion

Business dashboards are at their best when you use them with a clear purpose in mind. The marketing team needs to focus on social media and content performance, for example; the sales team on sales numbers, demos, calls and free trials; the executive team on the full business picture, and so on.

Take the time to customise your dashboard and personalise it to your needs and it won’t just be a tool you use occasionally—it will be your go-to tool for all your business decisions.


Lilach Bullock is a marketing expert, author, trainer and consultant. You can follow her on Twitter or visit her website to learn more and gain more small-business insights.

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