Any search for business scorecards will bring up the balanced scorecard. However, for many small businesses, the methodology may seem a little overwhelming and not particularly practical for a business with just a few employees. That’s why I advocate a simple balanced scorecard alternative to get you up and running with performance tracking.
When I came on board our e-commerce business, it was clear that other than the fact that sales seemed to be growing, there was a lot we didn’t know about how the business was doing. So, one of the first things I did was implement a balanced scorecard alternative – essentially a weekly reporting of major metrics – and a weekly review meeting.
A year and a half later, the scorecard is now one of our most valuable management tools, allowing us to identify issues before they become crises and solve them as a team. Over time this has created a momentum that has transformed the way we run the business, helping us to move from a reactive approach to proactively planning our growth.
Here’s a step-by-step of how you can get started with a business scorecard – including a free template to work from:
Before you create a scorecard, you need to know who is responsible for what. This means creating an organizational or departmental structure with clear accountability. (See the post: How to create an Organizational chart for your small business). Once that’s done, you can assign the accountability for specific measurable results to specific people.
Pick at least 5 – 10 items that are most critical to tracking the success of the business.
Here is a quick laundry list of potential items to get you started:
Leave a row at the top where you will insert weekly dates. Here is an example template that you can work from
Schedule a time that you will meet every week (or month – though I recommend weekly) with your executive or departmental team for 60-90 minutes. You need to make this meeting sacrosanct, so ensure you pick a time when everyone will consistently be available. The only reason for missing this should be vacation or death.
Here is what ours looks like:
Run strict meetings that start and end on time while conforming to your agenda. This will go a long way to ensuring the meetings stay relevant and effective.
There are 3 main components to running an effective scorecard:
While we took a little while to gain momentum, implementing this simple balanced scorecard alternative has introduced a new discipline around accountability and insures that we have a reliable structure for identifying and solving issues before they get out of hand and threaten the overall business.
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