8 Reasons to Make Performance Reporting a Priority in Critical Times

Analytics Jul 25, 2022 15 minutes read

Table of contents

    Times are tough. Leading tech companies like Twitter and Meta have slowed, even paused hiring. Others like Netflix and Peloton are laying off employees left, right, and center.

    Making decisions like these and others that keep your company afloat aren’t easy. To add, the economic pressure can quickly make you lose track of how your business is actually doing. And if you don’t identify and correct bottlenecks in time, you might even have to take an avoidable financial hit.

    But if you’re serious about preventing all of this and staying on top of the circumstances, prioritizing performance reporting can help you a great deal. In fact, regular monitoring and reporting improved progress monitoring, increased team effectiveness, allowed identifying trends more quickly and improved financial performance for most of the companies we surveyed for recent Databox’s business reporting research.

    How? Performance reporting doesn’t only help you continually track your performance and productivity, but also devise effective strategies that will help sustain business growth. So think of performance reporting as a channel that can be used to build a strong communication network to collect and disseminate all of your business and market data, effectively communicate business progress, and forecast future progress.

    We talked to 57 experts to discover how monitoring performance impacted their business in these critical times.

    Of these people, 42.11% come from the B2C services and products industry. 35.09% are in the B2B industry, and the remaining 22.81% are agencies or consultants in the marketing, digital, or media line of work.

    The majority of these folks say business success nowadays isn’t based on luck. It’s more about well-thought-out plans that can prepare companies for market turbulences. 

    Let’s see how they’ve done it.

    1. Identify potential bottlenecks in time
    2. Spot important trends
    3. Get the big picture
    4. Make data-backed decisions
    5. Get better business control
    6. Get a competitive edge
    8. Better problem solving
    9. Create better strategies

    Before we dive into the details, here are some valuable takeaways from our research:

    1. About 95% of experts agree that businesses that prioritize and take their monitoring and analysis very seriously make smarter and data-informed decisions that help them avoid turmoils.

    2. Almost all surveyed companies base their business strategies and decisions on their data. To be more precise, only one respondent said they don’t.

    do you base your business strategy and decisions on data?

    With that, let’s look at the numerous ways performance reporting can help your business thrive:

    1. Identify Potential Bottlenecks in Time

    Left unchecked, bottlenecks can significantly impact your business productivity, translating to financial losses. Luckily, performance reporting can help you identify bottlenecks before they start making a negative impact on your business.

    As Ever Wallpaper’s Lily Will puts it, “Businesses can quickly locate potential risks in their business processes by regularly monitoring them. Monitoring can undoubtedly stop problems from happening.”

    Zachary Weiner from Finance Hire agrees. “As a financial controller for small businesses, business monitoring and analysis in critical times is essential to help us identify where the bottlenecks are, locate the unnecessary expenses, help businesses cut costs that will not affect their performance, and work on boosting sales and revenue while reducing costs.”

    Weiner also adds that performance reporting helps you decide on data-backed corrective strategies, so they’re impactful for your business.

    “Through analyzing data and monitoring business activity and reports, it is easy for a financial expert to highlight problem areas, change strategies that aren’t getting the results needed, and find alternative solutions to lump some expenses to help a business save costs and sustain themselves through difficult times,” explains Weiner.

    Related: 13 Biggest Bottlenecks That Keep Your Business from Growing

    Thanks to all these benefits of monitoring performance in critical times, it’s no wonder that Will opines, “As someone who runs a business, I can vouch that business monitoring and analysis are valuable to a company’s success.

    2. Spot Important Trends

    “By gathering data at regular intervals and analyzing it objectively, we quickly identify trends that indicate changes or deterioration in your business,” notes Paw Vej of Financer.com.

    This has helped Vej’s team take corrective measures before issues escalate.

    “For example, if there are indications that the sales are declining,” explains Vej “then we can reduce marketing expenses or reassign resources toward increasing sales. And if customer complaints start piling up? Well, then it might be time to investigate the causes and devise a solution together with your team.”

    Here’s another example of how performance reporting helped the Honey-Doers team in a critical time. “We had to make business monitoring a greater priority back in 2008 when we faced our first major economic downturn as a business,” shares Rick Berres.

    “Now, we’ve had to double our efforts over the last two years because of how much the home improvement sector has been affected by the economy and the materials shortages.”

    When you prioritize business monitoring and analysis, your company begins to see trends before they are in the news,” Berres goes on. “We knew materials shortages were becoming a problem far before the news was covering it because we keep a close eye on our business data. That meant our adjustments were already in motion before some of our competitors even knew there was a problem.

    In short, keep Vej’s advice top of your mind here: “Business monitoring and analysis is an important part of keeping your business running smoothly during difficult times—so make sure it’s top priority!”

    Not to mention, performance reporting is your key to identifying industry trends before they make it to the news. In turn, this makes you ready to handle the crisis in a well-informed, calm, and collected manner.

    AutoInsurance.org’s Melanie Musson shares a similar story. “Keeping close tabs on data has helped us identify trends that will lead to decreased productivity. So, instead of trying to fix what’s wrong when it’s already hurting our profitability, we can get ahead of the potential damage. Many times, we have avoided financial loss by using the data to indicate when we need to change our methods.”

    Related: Data Trend Analysis in Google Analytics: 7 Best Practices for Measuring Your Marketing Performance

    3. Get the Big Picture

    In day-to-day business, it’s easy to get lost in the details so much so that you lose sight of the big picture. Fortunately, performance reporting gives you a high-level overview of what’s happening and what needs work.

    Take it from Film Folk’s Andrew Cussens, who shares, “One of the biggest challenges that businesses face when they are in a critical time is that they often aren’t able to focus on the things that are most important.”

    “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work and lose sight of what really matters,” adds Cussens. “This has happened to me several times in my business, resulting in missed sales opportunities, missed customer support opportunities, or missed quality issues that could have been prevented if I had had better monitoring tools in place.”

    The solution? Cussens shares what has worked for them. “By using automated software for business monitoring and analysis, I’ve been able to develop and implement performance metrics so we can understand how business is doing at any given point in time. This software has also helped me see trends over longer periods of time—which means I can make better long-term decisions based on data rather than hunches or gut feelings.”

    Not to forget, using automated software such as Databox for monitoring performance reduces the manual work on your plate. Once you set up your performance monitoring dashboard, it auto-updates in real-time, showing you all the essential metrics on one screen. The result? Peace of mind and better, data-backed decision-making.

    4. Make Data-Backed Decisions

    Speaking of data-fueled decision-making, lots of our expert contributors credit performance reporting for helping with it. The end result? Better business bottom line.

    At Plumbing Navigator, Nathan Sanders shares they’ve been able to drive this very benefit from keeping monitoring tabs on performance in rough times.

    Prioritizing business monitoring and analysis in critical times has been one of the most effective ways to increase our business’s bottom line,” observes Sanders.

    “In a time of rapid growth, we’ve had to make some tough decisions that affected our marketing business. But thanks to the performance data that we’ve been able to collect, we were able to make those decisions with confidence.”

    “Most importantly, this helped us avoid making costly mistakes that could have ended up costing us dearly in lost revenue or damaged relationships with clients,” Sanders points out. “We were also able to identify areas where our services needed improvement before they became a problem.”

    SEOwind’s Kate Kandefer echoes the same. “While I’m currently the CEO of SEOWind, I’m something of a serial entrepreneur. If there is one thing I’ve learned from my various start-ups, it’s that you need to start monitoring performance early and often because that’s how you’re going to know whether to pump more resources into the business or cut your losses and look for a buyer that might have better ideas than you.”

    Another company that has benefited from performance reporting in critical times along the same lines is PrizeRebel.

    “Clearly understanding our direction as a company allowed us to pivot when the digital marketing industry changed in 2019,” Jerry Han comments. “Being able to tweak our messaging for the rise in remote working without going back to the drawing board was key. While other companies were scrambling to discover ways to support end users, we smoothly helped those who found us navigate this new landscape.”

    There’s also a good example of how performance reporting helps with decision-making at Scottish Heritage Pvt. Ltd.

    Jason Porter talks about it. “During COVID19, our business was in turmoil, the world was at a standstill, and no one was making any financial decisions or investments. In this sticky situation, we analyzed data to understand any potential direction that our business could take to survive that phase, and we made decisions according to these reports.

    The result? “We realized that while many real estate and stock market investments were on a halt, there was a growing demand for investment in the service industry,” in Porter’s words. “Business monitoring not only helped us alter our business strategy but also our workplace strategy to deal with remote work and employee retention.”

    5. Get Better Control of Your Business

    With all the data that performance reporting gives you, you get a strong grip on your business. For example, having an eagle-eye overview of what’s happening, identifying trends and bottlenecks well in time, and saving yourself from making costly mistakes.

    Cicinia’s Caitlyn Parish, realizes the same. “Consistently monitoring my business in a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual fashion has given me a good sense of how the business is performing, especially during economic changes.”

    “The routine has made it easier to highlight how any changes have caused issues to escalate and using previous data helps us effortlessly point out where these issues began and come up with ways to fix them,” Parish elaborates.  

    The interesting bit? Performance reporting not only helps you review past performance and make decisions based on it, but it also helps you foresee areas for growth and improvement.

    Parish writes about it too. “It also allows me to easily compare past performance using KPIs in order to foresee which areas can be further improved or what problems could potentially rise, especially in decision-making situations. It also helps me define future growth opportunities by using previous data that has worked well and seeing how this data can benefit the future of the company.”

    6. Gain a Competitive Edge

    “Proactive business analysis, particularly in uncertain times, is akin to the old idiom about the canary in a coal mine” notes Ryan Toner from Precision Painting Plus.

    “It offers us an early indicator of potential changes to the business, both good and bad, and allows us to act on them early.”

    When you operate in a competitive landscape, any step up you can get on competitors positions you to take advantage of the market,” Toner outlines. “For us, this includes managing ad spend in key areas so as to optimize our return on investment and ramp up activity in overperforming areas to maximize our pipeline.

    In tough times, in particular, it can be hard to stay ahead of the competition as you get caught up in the nitty-gritty of running your business as smoothly as possible. But by investing in performance reporting, you can stay on top of your game.

    Here is another example from the Urban Dare team: “Ever since we have started regularly monitoring and analyzing our business processes, we’re one step ahead at all times,” says John Hubbard.

    “That’s because we can easily identify potential issues that can become a hindrance to our workforce. Due to this, we can brainstorm on all possible solutions that prevent us from delivering on our promises. As a result, our production had not stopped during critical times, especially during the pandemic when there was a supply shortage.”

    Hubbard explains, “That’s because we had increased our production before shipments couldn’t arrive and got in touch with local suppliers as well. Hence, monitoring and performing regular analysis have helped us boost our sales and give tough competition to our rival brands.”

    Most of all, monitoring performance helps not just one department, but the business as a whole.

    Frank Barber from Oxford Gold Group commends performance monitoring for this reason. “Prioritizing business monitoring and analysis in critical times has positively impacted our venture. Our operations aren’t just meant for one department, but it has their influence across the board. This ranges from the finance department to quality control.”

    7. Better Problem Solving

    By now, you know that monitoring performance helps identify issues — often well ahead of time — but it’s not limited to this perk only. Instead, it improves your problem solving too.

    Soderman SEO’s Randy Soderman shares how. “The major benefit of conducting regular business monitoring and analysis is the identification of problems. By routinely monitoring our business processes, we can identify issues before they even have a chance to escalate.”

    Explaining how thorough their problem solving has become, Soderman continues, “We constantly monitor the area that has a problem and compares its past data, which helps us to point out what triggered the issue in the first place. This way, we are able to fix the problem and come up with techniques to improve it.

    This would not have been possible if we only produced an annual report,” Soderman notes.  “Then, many problems would have been missed, causing drainage of finances and time without us even knowing.”

    At Oxford Gold Group too, Frank Barber shares performance monitoring has refined the way they approach problems and their solutions. Their secret? Identifying problems, then prioritizing them based on their urgency as their performance reporting reveals.

    “We have successfully classified the monitoring activities under different tags, such as high priority and due soon,” Barber highlights. “We analyze the company’s internal operations at various stages to reduce the likelihood of human error.”

    “Although this process is time-consuming but assures, minimal resources are wasted,” admits Barber “The primary benefit of regular performance monitoring would be identifying issues during the process’s early stages. We can then work with our quality assurance department to make sure that such errors don’t occur in the future.”

    8. Create Better Strategies

    And finally, all the data that you monitor regularly helps you create better, failproof strategies across various walks of your business.

    At Soderman SEO, Soderman has driven home the same benefit too. “Constant monitoring of our business activities has also enabled us to collect data regarding our spending, profits, and growth.

    All this information helps us to create marketing plans, budgets, and future projections. This also makes it easier for us to track the progress of our company, and identify any trends in the market that might be helpful for further growth.” 

    Stay Ahead of Market and Industry Fluctuations with Databox Benchmarks

    In summary, collecting and reviewing your performance data through thick and thin gives you an eagle-eye view of your business’s performance. You can easily pinpoint industry trends, identify problems and bottlenecks before they grow, and make data-backed decisions.

    Most of all, use the data to stay ahead of your competition.

    Want to fast-track understanding where you stand and how you compare with other businesses in your field?

    Use Databox Benchmarks.

    These help you understand how your performance compares with competitors. You can also learn what kind of ROI you can drive by taking different strategies to solve a bottleneck or to get a competitive edge.

    This is invaluable performance data that you can only get from research firms after spending tens of thousands of dollars on them. But with Databox Benchmarks, you get it for free!

    The catch? Databox Benchmarks is free for only the first 10,000 folks who opt in. So if you’re ready to thrive — not just survive during critical times, opt in now by signing up for Databox for free today.

    Article by
    Masooma Memon

    Masooma is a freelance writer for SaaS and a lover to-do lists. When she's not writing, she usually has her head buried in a business book or fantasy novel.

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