Small business owners have a diverse range of backgrounds and experience. Some are past business owners, while others are completely new to entrepreneurship. Some have a strong hold on their financials, while others are more creative thinkers. But, the common thread is that all small business owners need to plan and track their business's financials if they want to be successful. In fact, businesses that engage in planning grow 30 percent faster, according to a Cranfield School of management study.
Here are four common small business personas and how they can be helped by strategic business planning and financial management, specifically by small business dashboards:
The Attached Owner
This business owner is chained to her business and is the only person who knows the numbers. She is obsessed with every little detail, and is constantly looking at every last metric, but often focuses on what already happened and never has time to engage in strategy and planning that will help her better understand how to grow his business. She can't take time live outside of her business and look to the future, because it can't run without her.
The Attached Owner needs to find tools to help her keep her finger on the pulse of the business, without being consumed in the numbers and in every single detail. She needs to be able to occasionally step back from the business, whether it be for a day off, or for looking at a bigger, more strategic vision.
The right dashboard tool can be a lifesaver for this type of "control hungry" owner. A dashboard can summarize key findings quickly in easily digestible formats so the owner feels secure in having all the knowledge, without being consumed in getting it. This tool will give the Attached Owner the control she needs, but also let others in on the key metrics and help him engage in strategies that will grow the business.
The Risk Taker
All business owners are ambitious, but this type of owner is willing to take greater risks. She tends to be very optimistic and open to frequent pivoting and business model changes.
Without a system in place for financial tracking, this owner is at risk of making a mistake that could cost her in the long run. The Risk Taker needs tools that help keep her on track, help her set goals and evaluate opportunities to make the best decisions. Without the right tools, this owner can veer so far off course she may never be able to come back.
Dashboards can help this type of owner bring all relevant info together into one place. Simple charts allow her to understand exactly where her business stands financially at one glance, and she can easily evaluate whether to take an opportunity or classify it as a distraction that will take her business off course. These tools crunch numbers in real time and minimize the required effort, so she can still make those ambitious decisions, but in a more responsible way.
The Creative Thinker
The Creative Thinker is all about ideas and is passionate about his business. He's full of enthusiasm and wants big things for the future. But, he hates the logistics of managing finances. He often talks about the future, but doesn't know what steps to take to get there. This person is likely to only do his books every few months, and never really track and manage things like inventory and expenses.
The Creative Thinker needs to work with an accountant, and get his business in order. He needs to use a dashboard tool that automates the numbers and puts only the most critical and important financial information at his fingertips. Once he starts to use a dashboard tool he will see how easy it is to keep his business on track, and actually spend more time being creative, and less time dealing with an unorganized business mess.
The Creative Thinker will be so relieved when the right dashboard tool is set up, and an accountant is regularly helping keep his books in order. He will benefit greatly from a little organization, a great automated dashboard tool and some much needed business help for the right bookkeeper or accountant.
This person understands the need for a small business owner to share responsibility to avoid being overwhelmed, and has full trust in the abilities of his team. He understands his shortcomings and is very open to new ideas on how to run his business. Additionally, this business owner wants to please everyone, and never wants to be the bad guy.
But, if he gives the reigns to too many people, it's easy to lose sight of how each person's actions and decisions affect the bigger picture and long-term goals. He desperately needs specific, measurable goals that will align the team and keep everyone on track.
A small business dashboard can help The Pleaser by giving the entire team access to the financials. Everyone sees the same charts, goals, forecasts and KPIs so it's hard for someone to make a decision on their own. The Pleaser should also hold weekly team meetings to go over financials to make sure that everyone is on the same page. He should use the dashboard during these meetings to give the entire team a quick visual of where the business stands, and where the business needs to go.
Anyone can start a small business with the right balance of ambition and proper planning. It's important to identify your strengths and weaknesses and find solutions that fit your needs. Dashboards are a great place to keep all of your data in one place and personalize the way you run your business, regardless of how you operate.