Whether you’re a big or small company, you need to know how far you’ve come and where you’re going. Without real-time data, you can’t make smart decisions for your business. As you know, running a business takes a lot of paperwork already. If you analyze your metrics and information, you learn what exactly is or isn’t working for your company.
Small business is big business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), over half of all Americans either own their own small business or work for one. Even more startling is the amount of work that falls to these business owners’ shoulders. Around 66% of small business owners themselves are responsible for all areas of their business including marketing, operations, and finance. With numbers like that, how do you stay on top of everything as a small business owner? Start with these 5 reports below.
1. Sales Reports
First, sales are the most important part of any business. It’s the first indicator of both success and a potential problem. Without revenue, you have no way of continuing your business. When you monitor your sales reports, you learn how your business is functioning in real time as well as how it’s performed in the past.
If sales are going up, this is a sign you’re doing something right. If you notice your sales going down, this is a red flag you should take seriously. If you’re using a point-of-sale (POS) system, you probably already have a reporting dashboard for keeping track of your sales.
Don’t shy away from this dashboard. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to a prediction of your future as a business. If you don’t already have a sales or invoicing program, WaveApp is a good all-in-one solution. (source: https://blog.waveapps.com)
2. Workforce Management
Unless you’re an online business with remote employees, you need a way to manage your workforce. Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. When they’re happy, your business is successful. You need to optimize scheduling, payroll, and hours worked. This is a full-time job in itself if you’re not using the right scheduling tool. Check here for a timecard calculator platform that’s simple to use.
Not only should you use a employee management system to keep track of hours worked, but you should run reports regularly. Compare these reports with the sales report we talked about earlier. You’ll want to have the most employees during peak-sale or peak-traffic periods. If you notice you have fewer sales in the early morning hours, consider scheduling fewer employees during this time.
3. Online Traffic
If you have a business today, you need to take that business online. When you have a brick-and-mortar location, you can physically see patrons coming through the door, interacting with employees, and browsing your merchandise. It’s not as clear online.
The best way to track your online traffic is through Google Analytics. It’s a free platform that tracks all inbound traffic from social media, search engines, and more. You can learn who your visitors are, where they’re from, and how they’re interacting with your website.
4. Social Media
Like online traffic, you should also keep an eye on your social media metrics. No business, no matter how small, can exist outside of social media today. It’s how consumers find new businesses, look for reviews, and learn what’s happening with their favorite brands. Whether you use Facebook or Pinterest, you can keep track of these metrics through reports.
To do this, you’ll likely need to set your profile or page to a business account. On Facebook and Instagram, for example, this provides you with a comprehensive set of analytical tools. You can now see how people are interacting with your content, how many active followers you have, and your best performing content. Keep track of these reports on a weekly basis to track growth.
5. Marketing Reports
Finally, you need to track your overall marketing reports. This is your ROI from your marketing campaigns. Most small businesses invest in several different revenues of marketing, both online and in-person. How well are these campaigns working? If you’re not seeing any improvements from your campaigns, you don’t want to keep dumping money into them.
A key part of marketing is analyzing to see what works and what doesn’t. There is no one-size-fits-all for small business marketing. Don’t assume what worked for another business will work for yours. Run marketing reports to track where your leads are coming from. Whether you’re running a social media campaign, pay-per-click campaign, or a local newspaper ad, check how well it’s working.
As you can see, business reports are a serious part of your role as a business owner. Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking these reports should be left to the pros. In reality, they’re how you equip yourself with the right information so you can make smart decisions for your company. Make your own annual reports today to see what an improvement it makes.
Author Bio:Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.