Reports aren’t just a tool for large enterprises and corporations; small businesses can benefit from reporting as well as they give valuable insights into what’s happening in a business.
For small business owners especially, it can be challenging to step out of the day-to-day work and get a high-level overview of what’s happening in the organization. When starting to implement reporting procedures, it’s best practice to start small and scale up. Here are three reports every small business should start using.
Staff Scheduling Reports
Whether you own a restaurant or a digital marketing agency, knowing who is working when and for how long can help with a variety of key business drivers. For example, having time tracking in place for shift work and being able to forecast scheduling needs using an automated platform (like this one by Humanity) helps with strategic planning and cash flow management.
Staff scheduling reports are also important aspects of project management and the allocation of resources. For example, being able to see that one team member is logging a lot of hours on a project while another seems to have free time can help managers distribute the workload.
Additionally, being able to identify staff value and productivity can assist with business decisions and future resource planning. Having this information readily available will allow project managers to better manage their budget, by moving low-value tasks to lower-paid employees while allowing top talent to focus on the big rocks.
Marketing efforts are what helps a business grow and become more profitable, and building a marketing strategy is often overlooked when reading about how to start a business. Whether this is in relation to a specific event or a campaign, it’s essential to know that efforts are getting a high return on investment. This is especially true in a small business where resources are limited, and the ability to invest in marketing is minimal.
There are various marketing-related reports that could be amalgamated into a single packet of information. This might include:
- A campaign summary – this will outline the cost of implementing the campaign by breaking down line items (design fees, printing costs, etc.) versus the revenue gained from the campaign.
- Social media insights – this section outlines the various social media platforms in use by the organization and how employee engagement has shifted over a given time period. For example, the increase in views, likes, followers, and click-throughs in the last month.
- Google analytics and web traffic – looking at web traffic not only shows who is visiting the website but how they end up there (what keywords they search or links they click) and if there’s a correlation to time periods and campaigns.
Knowing the details about the various channels through which you communicate with customers will give valuable insights that drive the business forward.
Tracking expenses is an effective way to increase profits without doing more client-oriented work. In many cases, small expenses go undetected and fail to raise any red flags when assessing how well a business is doing. However, they add up in a hurry.
Consider this: you spend five dollars every day for coffee and a snack on your way to work. It’s a minimal expense that you don’t miss. At the end of the year, you’ve spent over a thousand dollars on your morning coffee. By making coffee at home, you could pay for a trip to an all-inclusive resort each year. Looking at it from that perspective changes things, doesn’t it?
Tracking expenses helps identify where money is going and helps business owners change behaviours and protocols to ensure the business is only spending in ways that contribute to growth.
By starting to use reports, small business owners can get a better idea of what’s happening within the organization and ensure that they’re making informed, strategic decisions.