How to organize reports management for small your business

Business reports are valuable tools for analyzing the performance of any enterprise. They also help managers evaluate areas of improvement and seek growth opportunities.

Some, such as financial reports, are a mandatory legal requirement. Others, such as informational, analytical, research, explanatory, and progress reports, are not required but beneficial for your enterprise.

As a small business owner, you need to manage and organize all these reports effectively so they can be of help to you and the rest of your staff. Here are some valuable tips you can apply when managing your business reports.

1) Use appropriate report organization tools

In the current digital world, the Google Sheets program is commonly used for compiling and analyzing data. In a report, it was stated that about 750 million to 2 billion people use Google Sheets every month. Its close alternative, Excel, attracts between 750 million and 1.2 billion users monthly. If you’re a part of these groups, it helps to know how you can use these two tools effectively as each one of them has its pros and cons.

For Google Sheets, here are some downsides:

  • Google Sheets may work slower than Excel when dealing with big data.
  • Google Sheets doesn’t offer as many data visualization options as Excel does. 
  • The formulas in Google Sheets may not suffice for complex bookkeeping and accounting. 
  • Google Sheets has a limit of 5 million cells, whereas Excel supports up to 17.18 billion cells.
  • Google Sheets is susceptible to hacking, given that it’s cloud based.

But even so, Google Sheets is more advantageous than Excel in the following ways:

  • The automatic saving feature of Google Sheets guarantees your data aren’t lost in case of a sudden computer crash.
  • Google Sheets is free to use, unlike Excel, which comes with a price tag.
  • It allows real-time collaboration with remote workers.
  • Its user interface is simpler and more appealing than that of Excel.

Because of these, it’s best to connect Google Sheets to Excel and use either of the two alternatively to capitalize on their strengths while avoiding the pitfalls. To this end, you’d want to use a reliable online tool and integrate the two programs. Such an automatic approach would be effortless on your side, as opposed to manual copy pasting.

2) Use email marketing tracking tools

Email marketing has a significantly higher return on investment (ROI) than do other advertising methods. In fact, reports indicate an outstanding ROI of up to 3,800% for small businesses.

If you’re planning on utilizing email marketing to reach out to potential customers, you’re better off with an email marketing tracking tool. This can help you generate automated reports with metrics on how your campaigns are performing, such as the following:

  • Monthly summary of your email marketing strategy’s performance
  • Email list growth
  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate

These should help you conclude whether or not your strategy is working. On top of that, such a software tool can help you with the following tasks: 

  • Optimize customer experience through artificial intelligence
  • Quickly track your success with real-time analytics
  • Integrate all your communication apps into an omnichannel setup
  • Retarget potential customers who abandoned their carts
  • Personalize your marketing message for better reception

3) Add visual elements to your report

When preparing your reports, you’d want to avoid lengthy chunks of text. The human mind gets easily overwhelmed when presented with wordy data. As such, many people may find it uninteresting and too tasking to read such reports. 

One way to make your reports more comprehensible is by adding visual elements to them. Think about infographics, photos, graphs, screenshots, and other similar engaging elements. All of them have the following characteristics:

  • They can grab readers’ attention. Visual add-ons break up text and draw the reader’s mind to the content.
  • They’re engaging. Visual media helps spark a particular memory or emotion in the reader, making it easy for them to digest and remember the content.
  • They’re more comprehensible. Sometimes an image may make the reader understand the content better than lengthy explanations.
  • They can be processed fast. People process visual media about 60,000 times faster compared to written text. Thus, it’s helpful to include such visuals in your reports, considering nowadays there are dozens of things competing for people’s attention.
  • They save time. A single illustration may cover up hundreds of words, meaning you’ll be able to compile your report faster.

4) Go digital

Gone are the days when you have to print your reports and hand a copy to each of your concerned staff. Now, digital reporting is the norm. So, essentially, you share your final reports through PDF files, CDs, emails, or flash disks. 

The many advantages of digital reporting gave reasons for businesses to switch over from the traditional way of reporting. These benefits include the following:

  • Environmental friendliness: Paper manufacture involves cutting down trees, which is harmful to the environment, and digital reporting is a means to go green.
  • Transparency: Interaction through online reports is an excellent way to foster transparency in your small business. Every team member gets the assurance that they’re reading the same report as all others.
  • Availability: Digital reports will always be available, and every concerned personnel can easily access them whenever the need arises. It’s unlike printed reports, which may get misplaced, lost, or stolen anytime. 
  • Interaction: Digital reports allow for user interaction through strategies like motion graphics or videos. 
  • User-friendliness: With digital reports, you can package the content in a way that’s easier to navigate. Readers will also be able to search for critical terms and directly click on any hyperlinks included.

5) Align the report with your business objectives

Whatever data you include in your business reports, ensure they relate to your objectives and key performance indicators. It’s meaningless to have data just for the sake of it. Your team members may not know the relevance of such information.

They also won’t know what action to take after reading the report. But if you match each data to some predefined goals, you’ll quickly understand where you’ve fallen short of meeting predefined targets and craft ways to reach them in the coming month.

How will you organize your business reports?

The above five tips show you how to manage your business reports effectively. The more organized they are, the better it would be for your team to understand their content and act accordingly. It also portrays your professionalism in handling your small business. The excellent image projected goes a long way in building employee and customer trust and, subsequently, sales.