How Tron Changed My Business

Hugh Connelly, CFA, President, Univest Capital, Inc.

"People manage what they measure." Regardless of whom this quote is attributed to, it is important. Every business has its own set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that govern how the business performs. The KPIs track performance, measure efficiency and gauge effectiveness of managers. A company dashboard communicates to the employees what is important to the owners.

Every business, regardless of its size, should have a company dashboard. What is a dashboard? It is a visual representation of business metrics. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a good dashboard is worth 10,000!

The steps for building your own company dashboard are simple:

  • Choose the KPIs you want to track.
  • Build your dashboard, fitting it on one page.
  • Update the data that feeds the dashboard regularly – daily, weekly or, at a minimum, monthly.
  • Revise the dashboard annually to be sure the KPIs have not changed and to incorporate feedback from managers or employees.
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Dashboards are most often built in Microsoft Excel, at least to start. There are more sophisticated dashboard software programs out there, but I suggest starting with Excel. You can set up the spreadsheet with three tabs, one for the graphical dashboard, another tab for raw data (this is the tab that gets updated) and a third tab for calculations that feed the graphs and charts on the dashboard. It is vital that you make the updating of the data simple and fast. You do not want the maintenance of the dashboard to turn into a part-time job for an employee, which is why setting up the dashboard efficiently in the beginning is worth the time and energy.

Remember the movie Tron? In it a human entered the video game of his obsession. By going into the machine, he better understood how the game really worked. With your own company dashboard you can get into your own "game" and gain a deeper insight into how your company works, or should work. A good dashboard can contribute to the improvement in the performance of any business from a local landscaper to an international manufacturer. A great dashboard can transform your company.

I'll prove it. Be one of the first five businesses to email me and I will personally meet with you or your team and help your company build its company dashboard, free of charge.

Univest Capital, Inc. is a subsidiary of Univest Bank and Trust Co.

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