Why Startups Need Dashboards

When one hears ‘business dashboard’, one thinks of executives and decision makers from big fortune 500 companies, banks, consulting firms and startups! Wait, startups? Yes, I did say startups.

Captain Dash is a startup and to top that we are a startup, which creates dashboards focused towards operational excellence. It seems rather obvious that we would use dashboards within the company.

Today, I would like to explain why we feel that dashboards are important for all startups and not just us.

Startups operate in a very dynamic environment and they usually rely on the data they produce to help them stay on course as they navigate through clients, legal issues, innovation and investors, among other things.

Relying on data is one thing but just because we are a startup it doesn’t mean we should not have solid metrics that we turn towards on a regular basis. Dashboards help us track our activity as linked to our goals – short and long term. We depend on them, we hold ourselves responsible by them and they motivate us.

A startup’s resources, both human and non-human, are often meagre and very precious. These resources need to be aligned along the correct axes and that is where dashboards come in.

Our dashboards help us figure out what to focus on to attain operational excellence. Where to put in our sales efforts, how our marketing efforts are performing, in which direction does the development team need to go and where do we stand with regards to our goals.

A startup goes through various phases of growth initially and unlike bigger, well-established companies the main thing to keep in mind is that objectives will change with time and all the metrics need to be decided within that context. These metrics may take some time to determine and need to be reviewed regularly.

For example, in the beginning the goal is to create a product that brings value to the client. All metrics need to be chosen with this goal in mind. But once the product has been created and released some of those metrics need to be reviewed in order to cater to the new goal of getting clients. I say some, because the product cannot be put in the back seat and needs to keep evolving with clients’ needs.

Another area dashboards help us with is investors.

As a startup chances are good that you need funding and you need to woo investors. You have the projected revenue curve going up like a check mark with your business plan. But, investors look at many other factors like risk, market, expenditures, etc. A dashboard that measures all these factors with open data and your own data can serve as a much better personal indicator for you to make sure that you understand fully where your company stands. You can work towards reducing risks and creating a better positioning.

From one startup to another we would love to hear if you use dashboards and why or why not.

Written By: Meghna Verma