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For small business owners, it’s common to wonder how you can increase sales, reduce costs, increase profits, reduce risks, get more productivity from staff, and more.
Ross Keating, consultant and founder of Nextree Business Growth Consultancy, hears those questions from clients all the time—and Ross believes that any and every business can always be more successful. No matter where a business is, there’s always room to grow.
That’s the underlying philosophy behind Nextree Business Growth Consultancy (Nextree), through which Ross helps businesses grow and increase sales.
We talked with Ross to learn more about how Databox has helped to reduce time spent wrangling data from multiple sources and increase the value Ross can provide to clients.
Part of Nextree’s offering includes the setup of custom reporting. While many of Ross’ clients use Xero for their accounting, there are other clients who use different accounting solutions, ERP solutions, and as well as online assets such as their websites and social media.
Gathering together all the different solutions and various data points Ross needed to build those setups and keep a pulse on client performance took a lot of time.
Ross knew they needed a better solution—one that helped clients feel more comfortable in their financial and marketing data and one that took a lot less time to set up.
Here are the challenges Nextree Business Growth Consultancy faced before Databox:
“I was extracting data from Xero, other accounting systems, and ERP systems—getting the data and manipulating it. I was spending hours per client trying to get this data into easy-to-view imagery, something that’s a quick summary of the data that they can relate to,” Ross told us.
“I went into Google Analytics and Xero and Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics to look at things. I used Futurli, but I found that the level of detail in financial information was often too detailed and non-financial data could not be reported via app easily.”
“A lot of businesses don’t look at their Profit & Loss, their Balance Sheets or marketing data on a regular basis,” Ross noted. “My argument is that you have to. You have to understand what the numbers are because if you don’t know what the numbers are, how can you make changes and investments? I needed something they could relate to, match against their goals and targets, and compare to last year.”
After previously using Xero (because most of his clients do) to manage financial data, Ross decided to look for a better solution. Xero wasn’t great for analyzing data from a management perspective. That’s where Databox financial dashboards came in.
“I can show people what they’ve done this month, what each of those months did last year, and how they’re going against their target—in one screen,” Ross said. “You couldn’t do that in the accounting software. That’s where Databox is really helpful.”Ross also connects Google Sheets, Xero, and Google Analytics across each client’s Databox account.
Here’s how Databox solved Nextree’s challenges:
“I’ve always used spreadsheets to show what the goals are and such,” Ross told us. “But Databox makes it easy for me to show that. Really easy. And when you write something down, when you set revenue goals, I’ve found every business owner eventually starts subscribing to it. They become committed to it.”
“I can show, in one data view, P&L information from Xero and Google Analytics information side-by-side, on the same screen. That, to me, is a powerful tool. It’s the only one I’ve come across,” Ross said.
“They only look at financial information when I make them,” Ross noted. “So for my clients, we’re using Databox all the time to look at wages against revenue, advertising against revenue… For me, that’s the key—I have to give them the best tools available that provide value to them.”
“Databox is an integral part of my value proposition, my point of difference as a business consultant.”
Now that Ross has all the required data sources connected and has honed custom reporting setups for clients, they spend a lot less time building reports—and more time taking action based on the numbers.
“I use Databox as part of my value proposition. I can show prospective clients an example of the data I use to grow businesses. Since a lot of business consultants don’t have the holistic approach that I do, it’s a key part of my point of difference.”
Today, Ross spends many fewer hours chasing down data points across myriad tools and putting them into a format that makes sense to clients.
Here are Nextree Business Growth Consultancy’s results with Databox:
As Ross told us, “Databox saves me a minimum of 3 hours per client per month. The bigger the client, the more time it saves. For more complex clients, it would save me at least 5 hours a month—just for that one client.”
“Bringing together, easily, the financial and marketing information: What are our targets, what are the actual sales, and how are we going against last year? Having those three things on one screen—that’s super valuable,” Ross said. “It enables me to quickly see and show where the problem is, where the opportunity is.”
“It’s enabled me to add to my value in terms of my clients,” Ross explained. “I’m able to show them what we said we want to do, how we’re going against it, what we need to do to improve it or to achieve the results we said we’re going to. It focuses the mind. And it helps me to bring clients on.”
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