Financial Data
Updated 29 Feb 2020

Can your success (really) be measured?

Measuring the achievements of your business is one of the most fundamental tools for success. But do you know how to do this? 

Bruce Wade , 22 September 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Every well managed business needs a set of tools that can be used to measure the different areas according to their performance. We call it your ‘Dashboard’. A business dashboard is a single point of entry, a spreadsheet, a report or a digital app, that collates all the required data in a single area that is used for management reporting.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it

Back in the ‘olden days’ I was a computer developer for a big retail company in Cape Town and we used to prepare huge volumes of that z-fold computer paper for the different managers each month. I wrote most of those programmes and was then responsible for the collection of over 100kg of paper, split it by department and distribute it around the office in time for the morning meetings.

Related: Sustainability: It’s what keeps businesses in business

We have since sees the collation of data into bite-size information and smaller reports and then the representation of the information into graphic format. Now, a modern manager will flip open his tablet of phone and get a single screen shot of the relevant data for their area of responsibility and within a few seconds be able to determine a course of action and who to chat to when they get to the office.

But, what is it that they are looking at? It all depends on what is deemed as making the business move forward. For most businesses, this information needs to have some financial numbers: sales, turnover, profit, expenses.

But even these are not as important as the derived ratios used to measure the effectiveness of the business. We now have terms such as ‘return of assets managed’ and ‘sales per square metre by staff employed’ or ‘productivity by workstation per shift’ or famous for call centres are dropped calls and call waiting periods.

Measurement is not just the bottom line

This bottom line is now a fudged blur of different numbers that get input from the Human Resources department on staff happiness and the effectiveness of Corporate Social Investment not to forget the green issues of Carbon footprint and recycling indexes.

  • If you had to select just five numbers or dials to watch in your business, what would they be?
  • How would you get them and what action would you take against certain indicators?

As we move into the new, faster world of tomorrow, managers need to move with the times and manage their areas of responsibility on the fly with reliable effective tools and then be able to drill down and take appropriate action against disruptive trends as they happen. Anything less will result in a slow downward curve to mediocrity and death. 

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About the author

Bruce Wade

Bruce Wade, based in Cape Town, is an Entrepreneur Coach, Speaker, Author and Facilitator of change in today’s ever-changing economy. Bruce through his business, Entrepreneur and Management Solutions has been instrumental in starting or developing over 650 businesses over the past 14 years. Bruce offers practical, easily implemental advice, tools and techniques to Entrepreneurs and Business Owners across the globe.

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