If you think about it, we use data every day to make decisions. I look at my fuel gauge in my vehicle to decide how soon I need to add fuel to the tank, and I check my oil usage to know when I need to change oil (which needs to be done next week!)
I check my fitness tracker to see how close I am towards reaching my daily step or sleep goal. One of my fitness goals is to keep my daily steps between 8,000 and 10,000. Some days I do better than others, but on average I am able to stay on track because I check the data.
I can check my spreadsheet to see how much revenue I have been able to generate in order to meet my business goal. I have a goal to bring in a specific amount of revenue by the end of the year, so I break it down each month to make sure I am on track to reaching my goal.
Before you can collect information about how your business is doing, you need to know what you should be tracking and why. For example, if you want to focus on improving sales, then daily, weekly and monthly sales would be important data to track. However, if you have seen an increase in customer complaints then tracking customer satisfaction data would be important. Having three to five metrics that you are following will help you stay on top of key performance indicators for your organization.
Once you have decided on what needs to be measured or tracked, then you need to create goals around the data. Using the S.M.A.R.T. goal approach will help you to create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Clearly describing what you want to achieve, what will be measured and why, with a well-defined timeline will help you reach your goal.
The next step is to create a scorecard that identifies what information needs to be measured or collected, by who, and what the target goal is for each month will bring together the data for easy access. A spreadsheet is a good tool to use for developing your scorecard, and make it shareable so that those responsible for tracking data for a particular measurable can input data as needed.
I use spreadsheets to track my data because it is easy to use and it gives me a quick snapshot of where I am so I know what I still need to accomplish. Much like health data such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature tell us how well our body is performing, scorecard data is a snapshot of how well your business is performing.
Think about what data you track, and let me know if you need help in setting goals or creating a scorecard to make your data-driven decisions.