When it comes to your small business, your reports are one of your most vital assets.
How often do you look at your business reports? Most importantly, how often do you analyze them for key trends before making decisions? As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. You’re already busy juggling tasks such as marketing, operations, and employee management. It’s hard to find time to analyze reports on top of this, but it’s a must if you want to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses and turn that into profit.
Small Business Reports
Do you know what reports you need to be running on a weekly basis? This guide will explore the three most critical reports every small business should be using to continue to grow, make smart decisions, and convert leads to customers.
1. Sales and Revenue Report
One of the most important (if not the most important) report for small businesses is the sales and revenue report. Without this, it’s difficult to interpret trends in traffic and profit, and it’s nearly impossible to know if you’re on track with your current goals in terms of spending, saving and earning.
Your accounting software system likely includes a function that runs custom reports. You can - and should - do this daily, weekly, and monthly to check your growth over time. Look closely at this data and its parameters. You can learn key information about how your customers are making purchases, your most valuable products or services, and where you need to improve.
If you’re using invoices for your clients, you can use a template system to keep track of them all. For example, if you’re a web design company, you can use a graphic design invoice template to separate your different revenue streams. This way, when you create a report, it will be clear where your income originated, and you can use the information to strengthen your graphic design team and adjust services or offerings as necessary.
Small businesses often run on lean budgets. You need to know how to make the best use of the funds you do have, and how to stay on top of cash flow. Your sales and revenue report is the backbone of your business. A rise in sales could indicate it’s a good time to expand your business, while a drop in sales could be a warning sign that it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Listen to your sales and revenue reports. They’re not quite a crystal ball for the future, but they’re as close as it gets in the world of small businesses.
2. Expense Report
Your expense report will complement your sales and revenue report. While you should keep track of the money coming into your business, you also need to know how much money you’re losing to expenses. Since you need to keep costs low, this can be the most important number. Expenses can include anything from purchasing materials, paying employees, and even just cleaning supplies. Even the small things can make a big difference in your overall budget and should be tracked diligently.
You should already have a monthly expense budget for your business. This is the amount you’ll be spending every month, on average, for costs such as rent, labor, and utilities. Reviewing your expense report is the best way to detect a problem in its early stages. If you notice your expenses are growing, this might be an indication you need to adjust your budget for the month accordingly. Expense report software can help businesses manage their monthly expense budgets.
Even if your business is performing well in terms of sales, it’s still worth regularly evaluating your expense report. Many small business owners make the mistake of assuming their system is already perfect, but it only takes a second to lose track of your finances. Always be vigilant in looking for ways to save money for your business. Maybe you cut down on employee hours during slower times. Perhaps you switch to a different cleaning company. These can be smart moves that allow you to focus your money on other, more important areas of your business.
3. Website Traffic Report
Having a website for your business is no longer optional in this day and age. It’s like a storefront that’s open every day of the week, all hours of the day. While you can monitor foot traffic in your store in real-time, it’s not always as easy online.
You’ll want to view reports on not only how many users you have a month, but where they’re coming from. This will help you understand where you should spend most of your marketing effort. If you see most of your traffic is coming from Facebook, that’s a good sign you should spend more money on Facebook ads. If you’re seeing fewer organic search results, you might want to invest in more SEO software for your website.
You can configure Google Analytics to send you monthly reports about your website traffic. Staying on top of this is an easy way to know how your small business website is performing, and you might learn a few things about online marketing in the process which never hurts. Building an online presence takes time, but it’s worth its weight in gold.
It’s easy to lose track of the small things when running a small business. However, ignoring vital data will only lead to trouble down the road. Learn how to make your analytics work for you by reviewing these three lists every week (or more often). These metrics above can be intimidating at first - there’s no denying that it’s scary to really see how your business is playing out in black in white.
That being said, if you want to make smart choices about your company’s finances and marketing, you need to stay ahead of the curve. There’s too much competition to bury your head in the sand about your own small business. Make sure these reports are working for you, so you can work harder for your business.
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