Are you a data geek?

I wonder how many entrepreneurs are data geeks?  I think I am.  I love illustrating the status of my business.  I’m sure most entrepreneurs who are deeply involved in the operations feel confident they know the pulse of their business.  Do you really though?  For my business, I’m not directly involved in operations.  I have multiple locations and I need to be able to create benchmarks to understand trends.  Whether you’re actually making the donuts or not it’s important to be able to rise above the fun and understand your business quantitatively.  Having tools that are manageable but are results oriented (very important!) is critical.  There are basically 3 types of management tools or dashboards:

  1. Operational – Monitor for efficiencies and inefficiencies.  What are your benchmarks and how are you performing against them?
  2. Strategic – An example is marketing data that illustrates which campaigns are providing the best ROI.  Also, what products sell during different times of the year so you can keep your inventory turns healthy.
  3. Analytical – How can you get better?  Does raising commission actually increase performance?  These can be financial goal based as well.

All this is good only if your system fits your style & workflow.  Create a couple simple ones and see how they work.   They can be spreadsheets, Domo or I use Tableau.  Admittedly I use about 2% of Tableau functionality but it’s a great tool with a ton of online support to learn from as well as user groups that are helpful.

Your first evaluation point should be was the time you spent entering the data worth the amount of insight you gained?  Because if your a data geek you’ll start to create dashboards just to create them.  Not good.  So try a couple simple ones out and see what you learn!

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