Your business is growing, you have realised you can no longer do it all, so you get others in to help you out as your team expands.
You can let go of some responsibilities, but how do you stay on top of all the moving parts?
How do you know how things really are in your business and how do you measure the success when you are not in the day-to-day?
As our team is developing, so are the workflows in each department, with independent functions and projects happening all the time.
This can be a hard shift for a business owner to navigate as they take on balancing delegation with leadership and supporting without micromanaging. Then there is the setting up of workflows and reporting so the leader can truly step back from the ‘doing’.
My chief love is working with my clients and working with my team. I have happily started letting go of some areas of the business, which are taken care of by much more capable hands than mine. But with this step back, I could lose sight of the day-to-day.
So, how does a business owner manage all of that?
Something we are working on at the moment is how we track activity, progress and results at Pyramis Solutions.
With team members taking on more autonomy and control for their areas of responsibility and to avoid ending up in endless ‘update’ meetings or writing/reading dry reports, I wanted a lightweight system that can track key elements of the business in our very own ‘Dashboard’.
It’s no secret that I love my tech! So I looked at the key software tools available. Many are integrating or utilising a form of ‘dashboard’ where they summarise all the information held into small digestible and often graphical representations. Tools for Accounting, Sales, Marketing & even Productivity are great, but I wanted to see all my business in one place.
Thankfully, I feel quite at home in an Excel Spreadsheet. As long as I can find the data, I can design the processing and presentation I need, so I set out on creating our very own ‘dashboard’.
I started out with what I know, the financials! I will never tire of saying the financials are the sum of the other parts. Whatever strategy, ambition and targets you set in any part of the business, the results show up in the financials. So this was an easy one to define as we already have key indicators to measure against for this.
Working our way through Sales, Marketing, Customer Success and Operations, we are building a full picture of the moving parts for the organisation to see a very summarised snapshot to measure how performance is going.
One thing that has been extremely interesting is defining what is important. No-one want’s data for data’s sake. We don’t want to be revisiting, tweaking and reprocessing all the time, as a small business, we simply don’t have the resources for that.
Determining what is important is a great tool to cut out the unnecessary and really focus on the stuff that matters, which again, in a resource restricted business, was a very useful exercise.
It even helped me to evaluate some of our internal processes. We determined that a key area to understanding the mechanics of the business was to have insight through job costing. What I realised is that to get that data without duplication, reprocessing and in a timely manner, we needed to upgrade some processes.
So the act of looking at and defining our results is smoothing out and improving our underlying processes, which can only be a good thing as we grow. I’m not looking to grow a business on shaky foundations.
The dashboard can offer several other benefits too.
First, now the team knows what we are looking to achieve and what the expectations are, they can take on more responsibility for the results and can regularly check in without my interference or evaluation.
If they are updating the results, I don’t have to, so I can take a clean top level view at the overall picture and decide for the future of the business.
It also acts as an early warning system, if standards are slipping, external factors are affecting results, things are not going in the right direction, we can do something about it early.
And if it is going better than expected, what a way to showcase and thank everyone quickly for their amazing results.
Ultimately, it allows me, the business owner, to step back without losing visibility.
If you are reading this and know of a piece of kit that is perfect for the job and suits the small business price range, I would love to hear about it!
And if, like us, you think it is time to look at your reporting lines and results across the business, why not consider one of our Working Session to kick start its development?