Using data to measure company performance

Posted by Justin Hesser on May 9, 2012

A new report from entrepreneurial firm Growthink, Inc. has shed some light on exactly what metrics business owners and executives may want to be monitoring and how to accomplish this.

According to the firm, there are certain Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that businesses must keep track of in order to accurately gauge their performance and current state of affairs. Growthink calls the cumulation of these statistics a company's "financial dashboard." These KPIs include: sales, new customers, subscribers, press mentions, website visitors, products manufactured and the costs of goods sold.

"You can not improve what you cannot measure," said Dave Lavinsky, president and co-founder of Growthink. "You need to track your progress to make sure you are always getting closer to achieving your goals. Your financial dashboard allows you to achieve these two objectives."

According to the report, in order for businesses to build an accurate and customized financial dashboard, they must first choose which KPIs to include. Although monitoring all of them would be excellent, that level of data management can be overkill for small businesses that may not have the technological means to do so.

Furthermore, these companies must also choose how often to monitor these KPIs. In order for businesses to retain the most accurate information from data sets, the indicators must be monitored on a routine basis, eliminating any possibility of outliers or uncontrolled variables altering the information.

In addition to a regular schedule of database monitoring, companies should have a standard to compare their results to. Without having other figures – either from previous years or goals that have been mandated by executives – the data lacks a sense of perspective that could be essential in making decisions to improve business productivity.

Small businesses may want to invest in custom database software in order to store and incorporate these KPIs into one succinct and customized financial dashboard. Consulting FileMaker developers may help businesses with the integration and development of this database.