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CEO Tools Blog

"12 Seasons" Mar 2012 -- Tracking Tools to Galvanize Success

March 2012 Twelve Seasons: this month our focus is on great tracking tools and techniques for turbo-charging your profit, cash, customers, and operating performance...practical, easily-implemented, results-producing tools to boost your business now.

Here's how:  build your own CUSTOMIZED dashboards after looking at our dashboards on the www.ceotools.com website under "New Tools Catalog."  Suggest you look at the "Measure Up" dashboard as a model where we display the flow of key charts left-to-right on the dashboard.  Each row is designed to take the most important "driver" that makes your target key indicator happen, followed by the most important "key factor" that makes your key indicator successful, followed by the thing most of us usually measure, namely the "result."  You get the most visibility and manage-ability of your desired result by designing and seeing your flow left-to-right like this!

You can easily scan down through New Tools Catalog at www.ceotools.com to see the various dashboards for tracking the main big elements in your business, go ahead and print out the free PDFs and then decide what your best dashboards should be.  Encourage your managers to do the same.  Pretty soon everyone will have their own CUSTOMIZED DASHBOARD that works for them!  Then, by sharing those dashboards with each other, your management teams will help each other get results while also improving their own dashboards over the next few months...this works fantastically well and is a technique I've personally used in several businesses with huge success.

One additional thought:  really learn how to read your balance sheet...is it "healthy?"  Do you know what happens when you sell something?  It really gobbles cash through increased inventory and/or receivables in nearly all companies.  Whenever an asset increases (other than cash itself), it almost always uses lots of cash...any time a payable increases it generates cash.  S0...sales growth gobbles cash, paying someone gobbles cash, buying inventory gobbles cash...determine your "right" growth rate and then track and manage all these things in a dashboard.

We've added a new helper at www.ceotools.com/blog that will guide you with your charts and dashboards:  just go there and search on "re-scale" for complete instructions on easily re-scaling Excel charts in versions published as 2003, 2007 and 2010.  It turns out that Microsoft in its infinite (non)-wisdom changes the methodology for working with charts pretty dramatically with each new version.

May these ideas encourage every member of your management team to grow your business without running out of cash!  And..tracking it all on dashboards makes it so much more manageable.

Very best as always, Kraig