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How to Set (and Track!) the Right Outcome Goals for Your Business

It’s important to have goals—both in life and in business. Goals give people something to strive for so they can exert their maximum effort and achieve success. Countless organizational management ...
It’s important to have goals—both in life and in business. Goals give people something to strive for so they can exert their maximum effort and achieve success. Countless organizational management books stress the importance of goal management—the art of setting goals that encourage people to maximize outcomes for the business.   But, which goals should your business track? What are the three types of goals that you should be tracking? And, how can you make tracking employee goals and business goals easy?   What are the three types of goals?                                                                          Business goals can generally be sorted into three different categories:   Process Goals. These goals define processes that should be followed to encourage quality outcomes. These goals typically focus on doing something rather than achieving an end result. Process goals are (barring outside interference) usually considered wholly under the employee’s control to meet. Performance Goals. These goals define a standard that should be met or achieved. These goals are used to set benchmarks that employees or teams need to meet and are mostly under their control. Outcome Goals. A strategic type of goal that defines an ultimate outcome with a clear pass/fail condition. These goals typically require the efforts of many people to meet, so they’re not under any one person or team’s sole control—one team/employee could do everything right, only for the shortcomings of others to cause them to fall short of the mark.   All of these business goal types are important. However, many organizations get so mired in their immediate process and performance goals that they neglect their more strategic outcome goals.   Why you should establish a goal setting system to accomplish business goals:   Every business should have a goal setting system. Why? Here are a few reasons.   Setting Business Goals Creates Alignment. Getting all of the “moving parts” in an organization aligned is crucial for success. Setting outcome goals that define what your company considers “winning” helps get everyone in the proverbial boat rowing in the same direction. Setting Business Goals Helps with Long-Term Planning. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This isn’t just a question for new hires—it’s a critical question that businesses need to answer as well. As noted in an article featured on Inc., “When your goals have been defined, you can develop a deeper understanding of the effects of tactical decisions and how they play against [your] strategic goals.” Setting Business Goals Facilitates Accountability. Who is responsible for the success of an initiative? How does each person contribute to achieving a specific business outcome? Setting goals helps organizations track how people contribute to their success—increasing accountability and enabling appropriate reward systems that encourage further productivity. However, it’s important to make sure that employees are only held accountable for meeting the goals that they can directly control the outcomes of (such as process and performance goals).   Setting process goals vs outcome goals   Let’s use a hypothetical example of two new start-up companies in the same industry to highlight the importance of setting long-term outcome goals versus just focusing on process goals. Both of these organizations have similar budgets, products, services, and team sizes—the only major difference is in their approach to setting goals.   Company A. This company focuses solely on process goals for its employee goals. Instead of having an idea of what they’re working towards, each employee focuses solely on getting tasks done. Once finished, no further effort is put into achieving strategic goals. Company B. This company adds performance and outcome goals and makes its employees aware of their progress using goal setting frameworks and reporting tools. Each employee has an idea of what success looks like not just for themselves, but for the company as a whole. They also know what criteria contributes to their personal success and the company’s success—enabling them to focus more effort on the things that matter.   In this hypothetical example, which company do you think will do a better job of achieving long-term success? Odds are that it’s Company B.   Why? Because, as the BrightGauge team has seen from real clients, companies that set and track goals for outcomes as well as processes and performance tend to outperform their competitors.   Remember this: goal management isn’t an either/or proposition. Every kind of goal—process, performance, and outcome—is important to your company. Just setting one type of business goal won’t produce the right results!   Best practices for tracking outcome goals   It isn’t enough to simply create a big, aggressive outcome goal and call it a day. To make that goal mean something, you need to be able to track it! And, you need to track it in the right way.   Here are a few best practices for tracking outcome goals:   Examine Other Companies’ Outcome Goal Examples. How do you know if an outcome goal you’re tracking is the right one for your company? One way is to examine what kinds of long-term goals other successful organizations in your industry are using. You can often find long-term goals or plans listed right on a competitor’s website or in their social media. Leaders from these businesses may also share their outcome goals when discussing their business in TED talks or other social gatherings. Try to Break Larger Outcome Goals into Smaller, More Manageable Chunks. Let’s say your business usually does about $75 million/year in revenue and you have a big goal of “Hit $100 million in revenue this year.” Breaking this goal up into smaller outcome goals of “Hit $25 million in revenue this quarter” can help give your people a short-term goal they can target aggressively and keep them motivated. Find Employee Goals That Support Outcome Goals. To keep employees aligned with your business’ outcome goals, it’s important to set the right process and performance goals. For example, if your outcome goal is “Hit $25 million in revenue this quarter,” then you should be tracking employee goals like “Close $25,000 in new deals each month” and “Make X sales calls per day” (where “X” is a number based on the average talk time with a prospect over the phone) for sales people. Customer service goals like time to resolution or successful customer issue resolution rate can contribute to customer retention—making them worthwhile goals to track for supporting a revenue outcome goal. Use a Goal Setting and Tracking Solution. Employee goals are meaningless if there isn’t a reliable and accurate method of tracking them. Using a goal tracking software to set and track employee progress towards their performance and process goals can help you keep your business on track for meeting its outcome goals. Being able to share goal information with employees in real time can help keep them motivated and enable them to course correct if they fall behind on a particular goal.   Set the right outcome goals (and track them with ease) through BrightGauge!   Since using a goal tracking solution is a best practice for monitoring your progress towards your outcome goals, BrightGauge is an ideal tool for businesses.   With BrightGauge’s online data dashboards, your can easily put your business’ most important outcome goals (like revenue targets, total number of customers, customer satisfaction goals, etc.) in a central view pane that everyone in the organization can see.   You can also pick and choose role-based employee goals that support your desired business outcomes—then let your employees see how well they’re meeting those goals. This helps keep everyone rowing the boat in the same direction to produce real results!   Don’t wait – Reach out to BrightGauge now to get started on tracking your mission-critical business goals!  
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Dashboard of the Month: Agreements

When it comes to keeping your executive team in the loop on important performance metrics, the name of the game is quality over quantity.    Executives are busy people and they need to be able to consume and digest content quickly and efficiently. Data dashboards and reports are a great way to keep them abreast on everything related to key performance indicators (KPIs).   This month, we're featuring an Agreements Dashboard, perfect to share with your CRO.    Agreements Dashboard - view here   At a glance, the Agreements Dashboard will give your CRO (or any interested colleagues) a high-level view of: No Agreement Revenue (a look at whatever revenue is not tied to any agreement) Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) Customer Distribution (which customers are bringing in the highest percentage of revenue?) Active Agreements With Negative Margin (aim to have this number as low as possible) Your Effective Hourly Rate On Agreements Revenue Source Breakdown    On one simple screen, it's easy to understand where your MRR falls with your goals, which customers are worth nurturing or even firing, and how your revenue is distributed across your business. By keeping an eye on KPIs like these, executives can make informed and better business decisions that will drive the organization forward.    To recreate these dashboards for your own teams, check out the links below: Public view link - Agreements Dashboard Buildout Key Instructions for Agreements Dashboard   Please feel free to reach out to success@brightgauge.com with any questions you have!    

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The Marketing KPIs Your Team Should Be Tracking

Many companies might see marketing as a “nice to have” item instead of a mission-critical part of their business. Marketing, especially traditional marketing methods like TV commercials and radio/print ads, tends to have a high cost and an ambiguous return on investment (ROI).   For example, according to fitsmallbusiness.com, “a 30-second spot broadcast nationally averages around $115,000 in 2019… 30-second Super Bowl ads can go for upward of $5.25 million.” This doesn’t count the cost of actually writing and filming the commercial! Worse yet, the returns on these ads are diminishing because many people simply ignore or skip them.   However, not all marketing has to be a big and expensive TV spot that most viewers will skip. Digital marketing has created a new dynamic for advertising a company’s goods and services.   To measure the success of digital/online marketing efforts, it’s important for businesses to track their marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) and use that information to modify their marketing over time.   What are key performance indicators?   Key performance indicators are data points that are used to assess how well an entity is performing. They are expressed as some kind of value and measured against a goal for that KPI (which is usually based on past performance data).   Tracking key performance indicators is a pretty common practice for all kinds of businesses. However, not every KPI is created equally for every job and role. There are many different kinds of key performance indicators that companies may want to track that may or may not be applicable to a particular team or department.   For example, the KPIs used to track the efficiency of a manufacturing team (parts made per hour, rejection rate, machining equipment uptime, etc.) would not be applicable for a sales or marketing team.   Why should a marketing team track their KPIs? What are some good marketing KPIs for a business to track? How can businesses track digital marketing KPIs?   Why should marketing teams track KPIs?   There are numerous reasons that businesses should be tracking their digital marketing KPIs. Here’s a short list:   Because it helps establish marketing ROI. One of the bigger challenges of marketing efforts is determining their ROI. If the ROI for an activity is unknown, it’s difficult to determine whether that activity should be continued or cancelled. Tracking marketing performance metrics like total lead generation, cost per lead, and customer lifetime value can help marketing departments determine whether the ROI of their efforts is positive or negative.   To determine what does and doesn’t work. Tracking the performance metrics of a particular marketing campaign is crucial for determining if it’s working. Digital marketing often makes it easy to track engagement with a marketing campaign by monitoring email open rates, clicks on call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and even webpage visits for any given campaign (assuming, of course, you have the right tools to collect that data in place). This can be useful for modifying future marketing efforts based on what did or didn’t work.   To identify issues causing potential customers to leave. Is there any particular point in a marketing campaign where an abnormally large number of leads unsubscribe or stop engaging with the company? Identifying these critical failure points, and the reasons for the loss of customers/leads, is crucial for ensuring future marketing success.   In short, knowing which marketing metrics to track and then monitoring them can help companies improve their marketing efforts.   11 marketing KPIs your team should be tracking   So, what are some examples of marketing metrics that businesses should be tracking? Here are a few digital marketing KPI examples to keep in mind:   1. Customer lifetime value.   How much is a customer worth to the company, on average, over their life with the company? This can help companies regulate their marketing spend.   2. Cost per lead.   How much does the company spend on marketing efforts versus the number of leads generated? Generally determined by dividing the cost of marketing by the number of leads generated.   3. Total number of leads per day/month/quarter.   How many leads does the company generate from digital marketing efforts over a given period of time? This can provide a general sense of how appealing the company’s marketing is.   4. Leads by source.   How many leads are generated from email, online ads, social media, the company website, blog posts, etc.? Shows which channels are the most successful for generating leads.   5. Website traffic.   How many unique IP addresses visit the company’s website each month? This can be sorted by traffic source for more detail (organic, direct, referrals, ads, emails, etc.).   6. SERP rankings.   How highly does the company’s website pages rank on search engine results pages (SERPs)? This directly impacts how likely people browsing the web are to find the company’s website.   7. Featured snippets.   How many “featured snippets” does the company website have in SERPs? Featured snippets provide viewers with answers to basic questions and are shown at the top of SERPs—even above the #1 ranked post for a search.   8. Number of backlinks.   How many other websites are linking to the company’s website? Having more backlinks indicates a site with high-quality, authoritative content that Google and other search engines will rank highly.   9. Email opens.   How many people open the emails the company sends out? Provides an indication of the quality of the company’s email list and the subject lines individual emails use.   10. Email deliverability.   How many emails get sent successfully to a targeted recipient versus being sent to spam folders or simply failing to be delivered because of bad email addresses? Failed deliveries can negatively impact future email marketing, so any email list needs to be regularly scoured for bad/defunct email addresses.   11. Ad cost per click (CPC).   How much does each successful click on an online ad cost the company? Cost per click can help establish the ROI of online ads while helping marketing departments stay on-budget.   The examples of marketing metrics listed above are just a few of the KPIs that may be valuable for a marketing team. There are many more that a company might use depending on their marketing goals and the specific types of digital marketing they focus on.   Easily monitor your marketing KPIs with BrightGauge   How can your business easily monitor its digital marketing KPIs? There are a lot of tools that you can use to collect data, but how can you easily keep track of varying datasources like ConnectWise and others?   BrightGauge is here to help!   Our digital dashboards give BrightGauge’s customers easy access to multiple data feeds—allowing them to track their marketing KPIs in a single convenient place.   Timed reports allow users to easily collect weekly, monthly, or quarterly marketing KPI data for easy reporting. Bring your marketing results to the attention of the board (or others) to showcase the ROI for your marketing efforts.   We think that our dashboards and reports can be a real game-changer for marketing teams. They save time, increase accountability, improve transparency, and make marketing efforts more efficient by showing what is or isn’t working.   Want to learn more about how you can track your marketing metrics and other important KPIs and improve your business? Reach out to the BrightGauge team today!

Best Practices for Building Trust Through Client Reporting

Earning the trust of clients can be incredibly difficult—especially in the modern business environment where customers of all industries have been conditioned to expect immediate results. Being able to answer the question “Why am I paying you?” is crucial for earning client trust—and client reporting software can help you provide answers that earn trust.   Why is building trust with your clients so important? How can client reporting tools help you earn trust as a managed service provider (MSP)?   Why building client trust is essential for business success   One of the most important aspects of any business relationship is trust. If trust is lacking, it doesn’t matter how good a deal your services are or how important they are to the client—they will seek out an alternative as soon as humanly possible. Trust is also something that takes a long time to earn, but can be lost in the blink of an eye.   As noted in an article by Forbes, “trust is the fabric that holds everything together” for modern businesses. Yet, in that same article, it was stated that “recent studies show that overall trust in government, media, business, and other organizations is at an all-time low.”   In a business environment where trust is in short supply, being able to earn (and maintain) trust can be a key differentiator for your business.   Why should I use client reporting to build trust?   Client reporting is a critical tool for showing your clients that your services are providing real value to them. It accomplishes this by making your activities and results more transparent to your clients.   Report automation and client reporting can help you create an itemized list or receipt of your work as an MSP. Instead of simply saying that you “did X, Y, and Z” tasks, you can show your clients the itemized report of activities completed and results generated.   Building trust this way can help to reduce your client churn. Considering that, according to sources like invespcro.com, “It costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one,” this can prove to be a critical strategy for keeping your business profitable. By building trust, you can keep clients longer, which helps keep profits stable while minimizing the pressure to spend money on acquisition.   5 tips for transparent client reporting   So, how can you ensure that your client reporting is done the right way to build trust? What key performance indicators (KPIs), data dashboards, and reporting automation solutions should you use?   Here are a few basic tips for transparent (and effective) client reporting:   Pick KPIs that really matter for your client. It should go without saying that not all metrics matter equally to different clients. Some clients may need KPI dashboards and reports that focus on sales metrics, while others may need ones that focus on things like service uptime and user satisfaction. Talk to your clients to discover the KPIs that really matter to them so you can include them in your automated reports. Use reporting automation to consistently collect data. Automated reports can help to ensure that your reports are delivered on a consistent schedule and have the same types of KPIs in them from one report to the next. This consistency can help to build trust by showing customers that you aren’t changing report contents. Send reports to ALL the right people on the client’s side. In many B2B relationships, it’s common for just the main point of contact on either side to communicate frequently, while every other stakeholder is left out of the loop. However, if you want to build trust, it’s important to ensure that your reports reach all of the important stakeholders on the other team. This way, decision makers in the client company know the value of what you’re doing for them (making them less likely to cut funding for your services). Customizing reports depending on the recipient helps take this a step further. Send reports when it’s convenient for the client. Different clients will have their own preferences for when to receive reports. One client might prefer to get reports on Mondays to start their work week. Others might prefer Fridays so they can take a look at the report over the weekend. Some may prefer Tuesdays because of scheduling constraints. Sending a report when it’s convenient for the client’s schedule or preference is one of those small touches that can really help to build trust and respect. Make reports personal. When building an automated report template, take some time to customize the report to make it more personal—like something you crafted specifically for them instead of just a mass email send. Some small, easy-to-add touches could include a cover page, company logos (both yours and your client’s), text boxes explaining certain pieces of data, page breaks, and images.   Build better client relationships with BrightGauge’s client reporting tools   Need help automating client reports and collecting the data you need to populate said reports? BrightGauge’s data dashboard and report automation solutions might be exactly what you need!   With our automated reporting tool, you can collect data from multiple sources automatically and generate periodic reports with custom fields to send to your clients. You can even make your reports personalized for different people within a client company to make your reports more valuable for each recipient!   Are you ready to build transparency and trust with your clients? Reach out to the BrightGauge team today to get started, or download our whitepaper The End-All Guide to Client Reporting at the link below:

Best Practices for Conducting More Effective Performance Reviews

They go by many names: Performance reviews, employee reviews, quarterly reviews, 1:1 meetings, personal reviews, employee assessments—the list goes on and on. Whichever name your organization uses for them, odds are that performance reviews have long been a cornerstone of your employee performance management.   However, employee review time can be a stressful experience for both employees and employers. Employees may be left wondering how their assessments work, while managers may have a difficult time providing objective and actionable feedback without it getting personal.   Why are performance reviews so crucial for managing employees effectively and maximizing results? How can you improve the performance review process?   Why are performance reviews valuable?   When done right, employee performance reviews are a crucial tool for helping both employees and employers identify opportunities for improvement.   For example, is there a particular performance metric that every employee is struggling to meet? That could be an indication of a systemic problem in the company or department. On the other hand, if one employee is consistently missing a performance goal that others are hitting, then they may just need some additional help or training to fix a specific issue that they’re having.   In short, employee reviews are an invaluable tool for identifying opportunities for improvement. When done well, a performance review can give your employees the tools they need to better themselves—and provide some motivation to do so.   However, when employee reviews are not done well, they can easily become a source of dread for employees. Poorly-handled quarterly reviews can feel unfair to employees and even lead to active disengagement amongst the workforce. 5 best practices for conducting more efficient and effective performance reviews To avoid the potential pitfalls of a poor performance review process, it’s important to follow a few best practices. Here are a few performance review tips to help you conduct better reviews with your own employees:   1. Apply a consistent performance review template for ALL employees in a department   The perception of fairness is paramount for an effective performance review process. To help ensure fairness, it’s important to have a consistent performance review template and criteria for everyone in a given team or department—and to make sure everyone knows what they are!   Creating a performance review template that applies the same criteria to every employee working the same role can help ensure that the process feels fair and consistent. However, it’s also important to make sure that the performance metrics you measure in that template are relevant to your employees and the work they do.   2. Try to highlight both achievements and areas for improvement   Here’s a bit of advice from Forbes, “Don’t just list all the negatives and hope for improvement. It’s important to explain to the employee what they are doing right, as well as what facets they need to develop.” One common problem in the performance review process is that many reviewers focus primarily (or even solely) on what employees did wrong.   While it is important to go over what each employee could do better, it’s just as important to celebrate their “wins” so they feel that their efforts are being recognized and rewarded. Recognizing major achievements and milestones is crucial for engaging employees and showing them what they need to keep doing—just as addressing flaws is important for improving performance.   3. When setting performance review goals, make sure they’re SMART   Quarterly review criteria for employees need to be well-chosen. Asking employees to meet vague or irrelevant goals in the performance review can be extremely counterproductive—if the standards they’re being held to feel arbitrary or unfair, employees can quickly become disengaged with their work.   In many cases, using a goal-setting framework like SMART can be incredibly beneficial. SMART is an acronym for:   Specific. Goals should be clear and easy to understand while providing a clear course of action or a desirable result.   Measurable. Goals should have an objective and easy-to-measure value to simplify tracking progress.   Achievable. Goals should be aggressive, but achievable to keep employees motivated. Impossible goals can lead to employees giving up before they begin.   Relevant. Goals should be related to an employee’s key role and responsibilities—it isn’t fair to hold software developers responsible for sales numbers or sales reps responsible for a product’s user experience.   Time-Based. Goals should fall within a specific and realistic time frame that employees can work in. Ideally, the time allotted for a goal should be long enough to allow for progress towards the goal without being too short.   For example, a sales team member might have a goal to close 20 deals per month or to make 40 sales calls in a day. The specific numbers here give the employee a specific goal to work towards in their sales activities, these goals can be easily measured, they are relatively simple to achieve, relevant to their primary job role (selling stuff), and have a set time frame to be achieved that isn’t so long that the goal becomes some distant concern.   4. Create a detailed performance improvement plan with specific steps   It isn’t enough to tell a struggling employee to “just do better” when they fail to meet performance goals. If Bob from the service center knows he’s supposed to have an average time-to-resolution of five minutes for customer calls, but it takes him at least 10 for each call, he’s already aware that he needs to “do better.”   It’s important to recognize the underlying issues that cause poor performance. For example, is Bob being tasked to address particularly complicated customer issues? Is he going above and beyond to provide a solution for customers that keeps them satisfied? Is the whole service department struggling to meet that five-minute goal (indicating that it needs to be revised)?   Investigating the causes of poor performance may require more time and effort, but it will help produce better results and employee engagement. Giving employees a detailed performance improvement plan (PIP) or making necessary changes to company processes will do more to increase performance in the long term than simply telling people to do better without giving them a clear-cut way to do so.   5. Give employees a chance to provide their own feedback   Performance reviews shouldn’t be a one-sided interaction. There may be issues that are keeping employees from realizing their full potential. However, without the ability to voice their concerns, employees may never bring these problems to your attention. If you don’t know about a systemic problem, then you can’t fix it!   So, it’s important to provide employees with an opportunity to provide feedback about their work environment, challenges they face on the job, and more. It’s also important to enforce an expectation of honest and open communication because many employees may simply assume that their comments and concerns won’t really be addressed (or they may be punished somehow for sharing them), causing them to not provide feedback when given the chance.   You can help encourage employees to provide feedback by actively showcasing examples of when feedback was used to make change within your organization, or to even provide completely anonymous feedback channels, like a suggestion box, and highlight the best suggestions from time to time without calling out any names (even if you have an inkling of who provided the feedback) or ridiculing the suggestion. If you act on these suggestions, it can go a long way towards building trust and engagement amongst your team!   Transform your employee reviews with BrightGauge!   So, how can you collect and organize the data you need to conduct efficient and effective performance reviews? Many business leaders choose to use specialized performance review software that helps them keep track of their employee performance metrics during their 1:1 meetings.   One tool that many leaders use during their performance reviews is BrightGauge (specifically, the Dashboards feature). With BrightGauge’s reports and dashboards, managers can pull in data from their other performance management and monitoring tools such as ConnectWise, Autotask, QuickBooks, Customer Thermometer, and many others. All of this data can be put into a single convenient view that’s easy to reference during a performance review.   Outside of performance reviews, the BrightGauge dashboard will update in real time so team leaders can actively monitor performance outside of their quarterly reviews and provide timely feedback—or recognize major achievements and milestones when they happen.   Additionally, managers can make these dashboards visible to team members. This can help encourage some healthy competition between team members to see who can achieve the best scores for certain metrics. This keeps employees motivated to achieve goals and drives long-term results.   Another useful feature of BrightGauge is our proprietary goals system. This tool makes it easy to set and track employee goals on an individual level—increasing accountability and helping employees know which areas they need to improve upon. This can be immensely useful for keeping employees on task and improving performance across the whole team.   Are you ready to make your performance reviews more productive? Learn more about how BrightGauge can help you improve your employee performance review process today by scheduling a live one-on-one demo now!

70+ Metrics for MSPs

Key metrics and accompanying formulas to help MSPs skyrocket growth and success!

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Max Cooper-Dowda Joins BrightGauge as Customer Support Specialist

We’re excited to welcome Max Cooper-Dowda to the team as a Customer Support Specialist! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family.    In the beginning   Like many of us at BrightGauge, Max is a Floridian himself, having grown up in St. Petersburg, on the west coast of the state, where he stuck around and earned a degree from Eckerd College.   Fun fact: Max has already been in the family, as he’s been a Tier 2 Support technician at ConnectWise for more than seven years now!    As a tech for ConnectWise Manage specifically, Max has helped partners with setup questions and troubleshooting issues, and he was also tasked with writing documentation and conducting internal training.    We’re thrilled that Max is bringing his knowledge and expertise to the BrightGauge team.   Joining BrightGauge   Max’s decision to join BrightGauge means our team can now offer even more support to our partners.    For Max, he’s most excited about getting the opportunity to work in SQL and expand his knowledge of other programs and integrations outside of the PSA space.    “I’m excited to join a small team and be able to share what I’ve learned over the past seven-plus years working on the ConnectWise support team,” says Max.    Out of office   Max is a self-proclaimed X-Men expert. If you have a free hour, he promises to tell you way more about the history of X-Men than any person should know! Outside of that, you can find Max playing video games (he collects and trades retro ones!), reading, playing board games, and watching bad movies.      Max and his wife are also avid toy collectors, so make sure to ask him about the latest additions to his awesome collection!   

How Dashboard Reporting Can Keep Remote Teams Aligned During COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has had an enormous impact on the way that businesses work. While the use of remote workforces was increasing slowly over the last decade, the coronavirus pandemic really forced businesses to adopt remote teams in a hurry.   Consider this: According to statistics cited by HubSpot in March of 2020, “In the U.S., 4.7 million employees (3.4% of the workforce) work from home at least half the week.” A later article from U.S. News highlights that: “the number of companies expecting to have half or more of their employees working remotely post the COVID-19 pandemic increased to 1 in 3, compared with 1 in 30… pre-pandemic.”   With work-from-home becoming the new standard way of conducting business, companies need to find ways to overcome the challenges of remote work—like keeping remote team members aligned with each other and the company’s goals.   One tool that can help with that is dashboard reporting.           What is dashboard reporting?   Dashboard reporting is a technology tool that allows team leads to collect data from various sources and place it into a single, easy-to-review report or data dashboard.   The dashboard reporting tool typically has some built-in integrations with other data collection solutions, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, website analytics tools, employee productivity monitoring tools, and the like. Dashboard reporting tools pull data from the integrated software to display it on a data dashboard or report—which is often accessible online.   The benefits of dashboard reporting for remote teams   So, how can data dashboard reporting tools help remote workers collaborate more effectively and stay aligned with their business’ goals? Here are a few of the ways that using data dashboards with remote teams can help:   It puts all of your analytics in an easy-to-manage location. One of the big challenges of remote work is being able to track the performance of employees in real time. A data dashboard tool allows companies to monitor employee performance metrics and see where employees are doing well and where they’re struggling.   Public dashboards can encourage competition. When multiple employees can see a “leaderboard” of who is ranking high for specific metrics, it can help to keep them informed and encourage some competitiveness. This drives results by keeping employees motivated to beat their peers.   It can keep management alerted to major performance issues. With the ability to set custom alerts, team leaders can program thresholds for certain performance metrics that, if exceeded, will generate an alert. This allows team leaders to make course corrections with employees in real time, even when everyone is working remotely.   You can set goals for both individual and team performance. One of the issues with having remote employees is that it can be hard to keep them aligned with the company’s primary goals. With online data dashboards, managers can provide employees with clear success targets they can work towards.   Online data dashboards are both a critical performance management tool for team leaders and a motivational tool for employees. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and showing them to employees, dashboard reporting tools help remote workers stay on track with their goals.   Keep your workforce aligned with BrightGauge’s dashboards   BrightGauge’s data dashboard tool is the perfect solution for keeping employees aligned with your company’s goals, even when they’re working remotely. With BrightGauge, you can:   See all of your most important KPIs in one place thanks to our extensive list of integrations; Check on individual team member’s activity and performance with custom gauges and filters; Create leaderboards for employee performance to stimulate healthy competition; Make remote 1:1 meetings more effective with employee-specific data dashboards; Get alerted to critical performance issues with custom alerts; Make data-driven business decisions based on actual performance data from the dashboard; Collate easy-to-interpret monthly reports automatically to share with employees, management, and/or customers as needed.   As they say, “seeing is believing,” so check out BrightGauge’s dashboards for yourself through a live one-on-one demo!

Report of the Month - Quarterly Business Review

When it comes to earning your client's business time and time again, the key is to build a relationship based on trust and transparency. Being proactive about showing your client the value you bring to the table rather than waiting for them to ask what you've been up to is a great way to earn a credible reputation.    Our favorite way to practice this type of transparency is by getting in the habit of sending consistent and frequent client reports. Client reports show all of the "behind-the-scenes" work managed service provider (MSP) is working on that the client may not otherwise have visibility into. They essentially show the good, the bad, and the ugly and leave nothing to interpretation.    One of the most powerful types of reports is the Quarterly Business Review (or QBR). You may always refer to this as a Business Review, but it's an in-depth meeting with a client where you may highlight the value of your services, review and reset goals, and create a strategy for moving forward.    This month, we're sharing a comprehensive QBR Report template that you can recreate yourself and send off to your clients at whatever cadence makes the most sense for your relationship.    This QBR Report includes ticket statistics, asset management details, and customer satisfaction metrics. Depending on what your client cares most about seeing, you could also add in gauges from your BDR, security, finance, or other tools.    Quarterly Business Review Report - view here   With BrightGauge, it's simple to create and send a report automatically on the date and time you choose. And by mapping your clients, you can save this report template and filter and share for specific clients when you're ready to send off (versus creating a new version of the report each time).    This QBR Report can bring a lot of value to your clients and serve as a perfect conversation driver for talking through your business relationship.    To recreate these dashboards for your own MSP, check out the links below: Public view link - Quarterly Business Review Report Buildout Key Instructions for Quarterly Business Review Report   Please feel free to reach out to success@brightgauge.com with any questions you have!

Dashboard of the Month: MSP Overview

This month's dashboard is all about the data you share with your executives. The MSP Overview dashboard is a typical board to share with your CEO or executive team in general.    We were inspired by Kevin Nincehelser, VP of Managed Services at Premier One, an IT services company based in Kansas. With nearly 30 years of professional services under their belt, Kevin and the Premier One team are well-versed in the data points that a CEO of an MSP would take interest in. Because of how valuable the MSP Overview board has been, Kevin is happy to share his insights with other MSPs who may want to recreate it for their use.    MSP Overview Dashboard - view here   The MSP Overview dashboard gives a high-level view of the following important key performance indicators (KPIs): Number of endpoints and users managed Financial KPIs such as Profit Margin Percentage Revenue and cost breakdown for different services (such as project vs cloud vs product) Turning Point Gauge: shows when recurring revenue starts to exceed cost of goods sold and expenses Average Response and Resolution Time trends over the last 6 months   This type of dashboard gives executives a quick, but thorough overview of KPIs that have an impact on the bottom line and can be used as a good jumping off point for aligning on future strategies and goals.    To recreate these dashboards for your own teams, check out the links below: Public view link - MSP Overview Dashboard Buildout Key Instructions for MSP Overview Dashboard   Please feel free to reach out to success@brightgauge.com with any questions you have!

Preparing For a Disaster During Hurricane Season

In 1992, I was just a kid enjoying my summer in Miami, when all of a sudden we were facing a Category 5 hurricane. I remember that time quite vividly, but there are a few key things that stick out about living through Hurricane Andrew: The beautiful weather on August 23rd, making it hard to believe that a hurricane was actually about to hit  The winds whipping through the house after all the windows shattered (and the crazy sounds that brought with it) The 17 days after August 24th when we were without power (in Miami's notoriously hot and humid climate) In 1992, staying connected meant something different than it does today. I was just a little girl, so I have no idea how companies picked up the pieces after Andrew completely destroyed our city. Now, it’s almost impossible to imagine being without power for 17 days and the catastrophic implications that would have on any business’s profit margins. Today, 28 years since Hurricane Andrew hit Miami and with hurricane season in full swing, it’s a good time to think about how you will prepare for and recover from a disaster. With a little work, you can ready your business and support clients who operate in affected areas.   Put your business continuity plan to action   If you've got a business continuity plan, now is the time to make sure you're ready to roll it out. If you haven't developed yours just yet, there are still ways you can prepare your business and customers to weather the storm, but you should make it a priority to create your ongoing plan.   Have a communications plan. Make sure all of your employees and clients have updated their contact information so you know how to reach them. And let everybody know how they can reach you throughout the event and in its aftermath. If you’ve got a main phone number where you’ll be pushing out recorded messages with updates, make sure all your contacts are aware of that number and how often messages will be updated. Create “if/then” scenarios. If/then scenarios help manage both employee and customer expectations around when services or work will resume normal operations. For example, if one day after a hurricane makes landfall road conditions are safe, then clients can expect on-site visits within a week or as needed. Communicate these scenarios to anyone who is affected. Consider extending support hours. As long as it's safe to do so and you are capable of doing so, consider offering extra support before, during, and after a crisis. Your clients may have more concerns and questions than usual and could benefit from reaching you outside of normal hours. Not to mention, this is a powerful way to build up trust and loyalty amongst your clients. Protect your data   You've been hearing about the cloud for so much time now, but natural disasters make a very powerful case for making the switch. There's no real reason to have your important data centers on-premise, as it is expensive and risky. And if you have clients who are in natural-disaster-prone regions, they really could benefit from cloud hosting.    As a hurricane approaches, business owners and clients will be really worried about servers, devices, and data whether the office environment is remote or a hybrid. Every place of employment should have a standard process for how to secure devices when a storm is approaching. Living in Miami, this is a natural procedure in every place I've worked. If a storm is coming, we know what to do.    Make sure your employees know what they have to do (either at home or in the office) and offer advice to your clients for doing the same.   Finally, when it comes to backup and disaster recovery, take every opportunity you can as an MSP to shed light on how a BDR tool, like ConnectWise Recover, can be a game-changer in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Without living through any major event, it may be hard for your clients to imagine why they would need to invest in a BDR tool. But, hit them with the truth. Remember, after Andrew we were without power for 17 days. If that happened to your client, everything they’ve worked so hard for could be lost. But a BDR can paint a vastly more optimistic picture as far as restoration efforts are concerned.   Hurricanes are scary and nerve wracking, but they certainly don’t have to wipe out your business. A little preparation and the right tech stack can go a long way.

Top Finance Team KPIs

Knowing where your company stands financially can give you a whole lot of insight into your business. It’ll tell you whether you’re profitable, whether you can hire additional resources, if you’re growing or not, which areas of your business you need to invest in, how much debt you are in, and so on. Obviously, this is incredibly important and useful data to know, and it’s not just about having the right numbers, but also interpreting those numbers in the right way. Every department in an organization is going to have a set of unique metrics that relate to their goals and efforts. We’ve recommended top key performance indicators (KPIs) for your Project Team, Service Team, and Sales Team.     When it comes to your Finance Team KPIs, we believe there are four you should be keeping track of. Top Finance Team KPIs It’s true that our list of metrics to track is not a complete list. You’re going to want to have a holistic view of your finances, which may include several additional metrics other than the ones listed below. However, we think these four should never be left out. Cash in Bank     This number quite simply tells you how much cash flow you have on hand. It’s important to know that because if you ever find yourself in an unexpected situation, you’ll know how to handle it without getting into deep financial trouble. Past Due Receivables Amount   Accounts Receivable is an important one because it tells you how much payment you’re expecting to receive from clients within the next 30 days (or other given time period). Being aware of which accounts are past due will help you reconcile with your clients and ensure that you’re getting the payment you’re due for. Client Efficiency Index (CEI) The CEI is actually a metric that we created internally to give our teams an idea of overall company performance as it relates to each customer base. You can set an internal benchmark for your CEI (ours is 60%) and it will give you an idea of which customer accounts need to be addressed versus which are in your normal threshold. To calculate CEI, you’ll need to gather your total revenue by client, all direct costs (like licenses, software costs, etc), and your fully loaded labor cost per account. The formula for each client account is broken into two parts: (Total Revenue - Direct Costs - Fully Loaded Labor Cost) / Total Revenue = Gross Margin Per Client Gross Margin Per Client + 40% = CEI (adding 40 percentage points normalizes the metric to 100%) EBITDA   You likely know this one, but this metric gives you a clear idea of your organization’s profitability and financial health. EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. Lots of companies use this metric to determine employee bonuses and raises for the year, so keep an eye on it. An easy way to view your metrics Wouldn’t it be great if you could have visibility into your financial picture at any given time instead of waiting for your accounting team to send you a report once a month? BrightGauge makes it really easy to do just that. Our software integrates with many popular tools on the market, like Quickbooks and Xero, and it pulls important data from those tools and puts it on a dashboard for everybody to see. Your dashboards are comprised of various gauges, so you have the freedom to create one dashboard that shows your cash flow, CEI, EBITDA, and any other metrics you care about.   BrightGauge dashboards sync often, so you’ll be looking at real-time data anytime you glance at your screen. We like to recommend that you display your dashboards on flat TV screens around your office so that all employees have visibility into your key KPIs at all times.   Other BrightGauge features include the ability to send custom, interactive reports to your clients or your internal teams as a way to build trust and transparency, and the functionality to set and track individual employee goals, which sets a precedent for accountability and motivation. If you’re ready to see how BrightGauge can help you run a better and more efficient business, schedule a live one-on-one demo today.

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