This week our Operations Coordinator, Victoria, joins me again as I talk about dashboards in your business including why you need one and how you as an entrepreneur can use your dashboard to feel empowered.  

Join us for this informative episode to learn the details about dashboards and how having one can help you reframe your business and stop being scared of your finances. 

In this episode Victoria and I also discuss: 

  • Why you need a dashboard and what it can do for you | 2:03
  • How a dashboard can help you standout | 7:14
  • How you can validate your time and energy with a dashboard | 9:18
  • Asking “why?” when looking at your dashboard | 18:29
  • The power of the compounding effect | 39:42

Mentioned in this Episode: 

EP 85 – Recognizing the 5 Categories of Emotional Spending  

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Full Episode Transcripts:

Intro  0:00  

Welcome to entrepreneur money stories, the podcast for women entrepreneurs who want to dig into their money stories so they can break free from limiting beliefs around money once and for all. Hosted by Danielle Hayden, owner of kickstart accounting, Inc. This podcast is a series of real conversations about money mindset with valuable and action packed takeaways for the entrepreneur who’s building their abundant empire. Danielle is a reformed corporate CFO who’s on a mission to help real freakin female entrepreneurs understand their numbers and gain the confidence to create sustainable profits. And now here’s your host, Danielle Hayden.

Danielle  0:41  

Welcome back to entrepreneur money stories. I am so excited for today’s episode. And I think I might start every podcast with this. However, if you are a longtime listener, you’ve heard me talk about dashboards quite a bit. I have Victoria here, our Operations Coordinator back again, Victoria, thank you for being here.

Victoria  1:00  

Thank you for having me back.

Danielle  1:02  

So Victoria is our liaison between finance people and non finance people. So Victoria and I recorded twice last week, and I said, I really liked that. I’m gonna keep coming back. So Victoria was gracious enough to say yes, and to continue coming back to the podcast. And I think that Vittoria serves a really important role for you, the listener and the audience. And that I know, although I try really hard to make finance and accounting fun and light and adjustable, we still say things that are accounting terms and feel big and hard. And so Victoria does a really nice job of being that liaison to say, hey, how do we interpret this for all of our non financial people? How can a business owner or creative be able to take this and actually understand that information? So Victoria, interrupt me, ask me all the questions, help our audience be able to use this information?

Victoria  1:59  

Yeah, of course, I love being able to fill that role. And we say it all the time to the team that there’s like, when everyone says it all the time, there’s no stupid questions. But I think the key piece is, if you have the question, someone else has the question. So it’s always important to ask either way. Yeah,

Danielle  2:18  

absolutely. I actually have jotted down here. And this is in relation to how to interpret the dashboard. But I think it’s okay to mention this here. You know, when we’re thinking about questions, and finance, really, either the quality of the information, what you’re going to get from your numbers, really comes from the quality of the questions that you’re asking. So every time, this isn’t making sense, or you’re struggling with this information, or you’re struggling even to show up and avoid it. Maybe if you change the questions, you can change the meaning behind the topic. And if you can change the questions, you can change the value that you place on the information. And if you can change the questions, you can change the quality of the information that you’re getting from your number. So I’m glad you mentioned questions, because we have to be asking questions. That’s how we listen to the story of our numbers.

Victoria  3:12  

That’s really how we learn anything is by asking questions. I think my least favorite little saying is curiosity killed the cat, because like, it’s so good to be curious and to always be learning.

Danielle  3:27  

Yeah, I agree. I agree with that.

Victoria  3:30  

All right. So jumping into the dashboards, I guess, Danielle, I just want to start with the why, like, why do we need a dashboard? And what can a dashboard do for us?

Danielle  3:43  

Yeah. So dashboards are a really important piece of our financial framework that we work within, at Kickstart accounting, Inc. and a really big part of the information that we are using in our new course is that launching the dashboard is the way that we can start to develop good habits, right? So we need to start to look at this information. And the dashboard, ideally, is something that we look at on a weekly basis. And so this can create the really good habit of looking at our financial information. And I know a lot of people will say to me, when they first start working with us, holy, she’s, I cannot even fathom thinking about looking at my numbers on a weekly basis. But the dashboard is a really nice place to go and get a summary of information. So the idea is that it’s relevant, and it’s quick, and it stays consistent over time. So you, you get used to looking at the information. It’s, it’s summarized, right, so you’re not spending a lot of time gathering the information from a bunch of different places. You’re not spending a ton of time analyzing it. It’s a summary of information that is relevant and quick, and it’s something that I’ve heard people say to me Throughout the years is that bookkeeping is the act of looking backwards. So yeah, great, thanks. You sent me my financials at the end of the month and your bookkeeping, the transactions after they’ve happened, how do I start to look forward? And the dashboards are this inter period checkpoint where we can start to use bookkeeping to look forward. So we’re not waiting until the end of each month? We’re not waiting for the end of each quarter, we’re looking at it in the middle of the period, so that we can start to project what this month is going to look like? What behaviors do I need to change? What do I need to do differently for the rest of this month? Or this entire period? Right? What do I need to do for the rest of this, this period, the dashboard is an opportunity to focus on just the critical items. So we’re saving you a ton of time, right? We understand that business owners are so busy, and so when we asked you to look at your finances, and when we asked you to look at your numbers, this shouldn’t be like another full time job for you, right? Like, you don’t have to become the CFO of your business and meaning that you have a whole full time job. And in accounting and finance, that’s not the idea. The idea is for it to be an opportunity for you as a business owner to focus on just the critical, critical items, and just have a quick snapshot.

Victoria  6:18  

So basically, it’s kind of like a little checkup so that you have a real time pulse on your business instead of waiting. However long after you know, a period is even close to getting the numbers and to see where you’re at so you can get your numbers more in real time.

Danielle  6:40  

Yes, these are definitely real time numbers. As we’re going through the month, I heard somebody say recently, your numbers pulled your roadmap to a successful business. So if we are waiting till the end of each month, or the end of each quarter, right, that means we only are seeing our finances three times before tax season. That’s a lot of gap. Right? That’s a lot of space where you’re, you’re driving your car without navigation. Right? I know I tried to do this all the time. I don’t need Google Maps, I learned how to drive before there were cell phones and Google Maps. I don’t need it. And then I ended up taking five wrong turns. And I’m like, why didn’t you just check in right? Check in and look at the map, right? So it can lead me to a quick route. And I can learn quickly and have that map. And for anybody out there who is slightly competitive, and you might not want to acknowledge that you’re competitive, but you might have that competitive bone. At the dashboard, when we are willing to look at this on a weekly basis, you, as a business owner are going to start to stand out amongst other entrepreneurs, you’re going to stand out against your peers, you’ll stand out to your advisors, your team members, your mentors, when you’re if you’re in a mastermind, or you’re working with a business coach, just imagine when they ask you what’s the state of your business? Or what’s going on? How are things going? I’m sure you can answer that question at any point, right? Because the dashboard is coming to you weekly. So at any point when you meet with that business coach, or you are part of that mastermind, or that mentor, your husband, your wife, your team members, your mother, your father, right, like any of those people say, How is it going, you can really answer that really confidently and quickly. And it makes you stand out amongst the rest of your peers and entrepreneurs.

Victoria  8:40  

I’m imagining that that has to be a really good feeling to be able to answer those questions confidently, but also not have to scramble if you know you have a mastermind meeting today or tomorrow, and you’re having to scramble beforehand to check in on your business so you can be able to answer those questions. And then you might still be unsure. I’m sure the dashboard can really help ease your mind, not even like of course, it’s great to know your numbers. And it’s great to have that pulse but also just like the ease that it can put you at mentally.

Danielle  9:18  

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I hear this with marriages and relationships and families quite a bit too, that you are pouring a lot of time and energy into this business. And so when your family members, your you’re, your spouse, your kids, when they ask how things are going it’s really empowering feeling to know where things are at and it not that validates your time and energy but it can really validate your time and energy and I’ve talked a lot about you know, not having work life balance and that there’s there’s going to be seasons and times where you’re great, great parents and seasoned times where you’re gonna be great business owner, and if you’re going through one of those seasons, right so if you you set an intention for this year to have hockey stick growth. And so maybe you’re not going to every single one of your kids games, or maybe you’re not there for every single thing that your partner wants you to be there for when you have this dashboard on a weekly basis, and you see that hockey stick growth, it validates those decisions, right? It validates what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. And then when they say, Hey, like, you’re not going to be having dinner again tonight, what’s going on, you can say, Well, my intention for the year was hockey stick growth. And I’m watching in my dashboard, this comes to fruition. And this is really awesome. And you can show up to that conversation really energetic and passionate. Imagine if you didn’t have that information, and you had no idea if it was paying off or not. And then they gave you great advice about not doing this or that. Like that totally changes the narrative and totally changes how you second guess yourself?

Victoria  10:52  

Yes, I can imagine I don’t have kids. But I know that there’s a lot of guilt around parenting, no matter what decisions you’re making. So being able to validate that and just knowing where you’re at, and being able to have the roadmap of where you’re going, being able to I mean, to keep the roadmap analogy going, being able to reroute if you need to, or knowing the choices that that are upcoming, can really help. Absolutely.

Danielle  11:23  

Well, there’s a few different versions of dashboards. And so I want you to clarify what type of dashboard we’re talking about. So there’s operational dashboards, strategic dashboards, and then analytical or financial dashboards. And so the dashboard that we’re talking about today is your Financial Dashboard. This is something that you should receive from your money team on a weekly basis. And so you would communicate to your money team, hey, this is the day that I like to review my air quote, like admin work, right, I like to be able to, or I step into my CEO shoes really, you know, fully on this day. And so you’ve talked to your money team about what day of the week that is, and you receive the Financial Dashboard. On that day, the Financial Dashboard is something that stays static, week over week, year, over a year, where the operational dashboard and strategic dashboards can change. And the strategic and operational dashboards could also be considered a scorecard. So you’ve heard us talk a lot about scorecards in the past where you’re choosing three to five key performance indicators. You’re thinking about what your intentions are for the year or if you are running on a system like Eos, we did a whole series in the fall about Eos, the entrepreneur operating system that Kickstarter, counting runs on when you are setting rocks and goals. Each quarter, you need to have a scorecard in your business, which is going to help track the progress of those goals. And so that’s where you might have some of your more operational type things, project management, company wide system goals, the team goals and initiatives, anything else that was within your intentions for the year that you need to monitor to stay consistent, that’s different, right, those are scorecard where this is more of a Financial Dashboard.

Victoria  13:19  

So what all is covered in the Financial Dashboard,

Danielle  13:24  

yeah, the Financial Dashboard, when we send this to our clients, so this might be different. If you are working with a company who does dashboard, right, like that’s what they do. If you’ve hired a company to create a fancy dashboard for you. It might cover more leading indicators, like sales discovery calls, maybe your marketing customer acquisition costs. So this is purely simply a financial Financial Dashboard. So when we send our financial dashboards to our clients, who are on our CFO plan, they get the specific metrics, we have sales, and then we compare the sales month to date to the budget or financial goal for that month. We compare the current month to the prior year. And then we compare the year to date results to both the budget and to the prior year or period. This is really important because it changes how we are going to behave for the rest of the month. If we’ve hit our budget, and we’ve exceeded the prior year, and that was our intention, we might change our actions for the rest of the month and in focusing on the backend operations or nurturing relationships in a different way. Whereas if we have not hit our sales yet for the month, we might spend our time focusing on revenue generating activities, rather than focusing on you know, leaning into our team or focusing our efforts elsewhere. Next is our cash. And this includes all cash so checking accounts savings account tax savings if you’re running profit. First, you might have four or five, checking, we have different accounts. And so this is the total cash cash balance. And then we also like to calculate the true cash balance, or some people call it the burn rate. The true cash balance is your current cash minus three months worth of operating expenses, and debt payments, you can tune back into Episode 84, where we talked about the three numbers that every business owner needs to know where we went into detail on what the true cash balance is in your business. But when we send this to our clients with true cash balances, cash minus three months worth of operating expenses, and then we have accounts receivable, there’s that big accounting word, let me break it down. Accounts receivable is simply who owes you money. And so when you receive your cash, the dashboard is going to show you who owes you money for the next 30 days, this is your opportunity to collect on those funds. And it’s your opportunity to see if you have any clients who are becoming an issue. If you notice, you have a client who’s appearing on this list over and over and over again, we can start to tune into those trends. So it’s our who owes us money and our accounts receivable for the next 30 days, then we have our accounts payable just means who I owe money to. So what’s coming up in the next 30 days. And this will include payroll contractors, maybe you build out your website or you have a big branding exercise. So who do you owe money to for the next 30 days, and the idea of looking at all of this cash, so that you can look at what your cash runway is. So again, this is using bookkeeping. So the act of looking backwards to look forward. If I don’t have a lot of money that’s coming into me, I don’t have a lot of accounts receivable setting out. But I have a ton of accounts payable, I did a lot of reinvesting in my business, a lot of those invoices are coming due I have payroll, I need to pay my contractors, it was a big month, that I I know that my cash runway is low, and that I might need to do things like tap into my line of credit or establish a line of credit or make an owner’s investment. So this is a way of being able to look forward in your cash to understand the needs of your business.

Victoria  17:17  

So Danielle, how do we learn how to interpret that we have our dashboard. Now we have all of these numbers. I know we talked a little bit about changing our questions. So how do we learn how to ask the right questions,

Danielle  17:33  

start asking questions, right? Just just start asking questions. And I encourage you to do this with your money team. Or if you have somebody else on your team, maybe a virtual assistant, maybe an operations person, somebody on your leadership team or your bookkeeper, just somebody who you can start to ask questions to, how can I do this better? Right? What can I do differently? To increase my cash? Like if you notice, gosh, I keep on being in a situation where I need to touch my line of credit. Well, asking yourself why right? What’s happening? Can I go back to the power of 1%? And maybe increase my pricing? Make our invoices sooner, right? Get cash back in the door? Can I invoice my clients faster? Can I delay paying my vendors? Can I ask for payment terms, kind of put this on a credit card and then pay off my credit card? 30 days after that? So asking why. So every time you look at the dashboard, it’s important to not think, okay, there’s not a lot of swing from last week. I guess I don’t need to look at this. It’s what changed from last week. What questions can I ask and what trends can I look at? This will be really helpful if you have the cash balance just in each column. So week over week, you can see the cash balance changing. What’s happening every time my cash dips, what happened during that period of time that I need to reflect on. Okay, my cash was really high about six weeks ago. What happened during that time where my cash was high? Same thing with sales. So just asking questions, and if it doesn’t tell you anything, ask the question in a different way, or ask a different question. This data has so much meaning but you have to ask the questions. To change the quality of the meaning to change the actual meaning that you’re drawing from the dashboard. You have to keep on pivoting right? Just test it, evaluate it, revise it and do it over and over and over again.

Victoria  19:36  

So what would be your number one tip for someone who’s just starting out with dashboards? Maybe they don’t have one right now. And this is really motivating them to get a dashboard. What would be your number one tip for them to get started?

Danielle  19:51  

I was in a yoga class. We could go and they made a comment and they said Your story is just your story. And I think that that’s a That’s a pretty profound way to think about how we look at ourselves in general, right? We tell ourselves so many stories. One thing that we hear from a lot of our clients is I’m not a numbers person. numbers are overwhelming. I can’t do this, right, my, my husband handles the finances, I went broke. 10 years ago, I filed for bankruptcy. Nobody should trust me with money. And that’s just creating a story around you not trusting yourself with money, is that not trusting yourself with it. So, if you are saying to yourself, I’m not a numbers person, and this is overwhelming, that every time you get the dashboard, it’s gonna send like cortisol, and you’re gonna have panic and anxiety, a pit in your stomach, like, Oh, my God, they just sent me this dashboard. And I look at it, and it’s overwhelming. But if you can say, Okay, we had a client yesterday, who said, I am so excited to not be operating my business in the dark anymore. I know whether it’s good news or bad news. I know what’s going on in my business, when I get this dashboard, that just the reframe right, it could be good or bad, his business is actually not thriving at the moment. But he’s not operating in the dark. And so he could say, Oh, my God, this is so overwhelming every week, they’re telling me that this is not good news. But instead he said, I’m so happy to not be operating in the dark. So now when I get this information, alright, hit your inbox, you’re like, excited, right? Okay, I get to see it, I get to understand it, I can feel empowered by it. I can, I can now show up as a leader guide, my team guide, my vendors guide my business, like the leader that I’m supposed to be.

Victoria  21:45  

I like that you touched on the negative self talk, too. We talked in the emotional spinning episode that sometimes how you view yourself you’re like, almost manifesting that energy. So when you’re fully empowering yourself, you know, through your dashboard, and you’re getting all the information, you can really start to turn that around.

Danielle  22:06  

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think it’s part of just enjoying the journey of running a business. I think, as business owners, just as people, right we get really focused on these goals that we have, we get focused on what our intention was for the year. And so we were so focused on the destination that we forgot, like, Let’s just enjoy this week, right? What does this dashboard have to tell me this week? How can I use it to be the best business owner that I can possibly be this week? How can I show up and be the best leader that I can this week, and it brings it back to enjoying the journey of running a business because unless your goal is to sell your business in the next, you know, next few years or next year, it’s not necessarily about the destination, because I know we’ve done it a kickstart i i found myself doing it just yesterday, when we when we hit our goals, we don’t stop, right, we definitely don’t stop, we set the next goal. And we might not even celebrate the goal, we just move the goal down the line. And so we need to learn to enjoy and trust the process. And I think this dashboard is just another tool in our toolbox. It’s another data set. That’s another way to be able to check in with our business so that you can enjoy the process and just be the best business owner that you can be.

Victoria  23:25  

Yeah, I think it’s really easy to get stuck in the like, I guess the business version of Keeping Up with the Joneses of always trying to get better. And that’s there’s so much information out there on how to do that, how everything is focused on growth and, and always, you know, the next best thing. And while those things are great, like, obviously growth is awesome. But also like, celebrate your milestones even if you’re not far surpassing that goal. If you’re halfway there. That’s exciting. And that is a great reminder to check in on those milestones, instead of just focusing on that one large, big goal.

Danielle  24:10  

Yeah, I mean, the dashboard, if you get it mid month, and you’ve hit your revenue goal, you can celebrate right there in there, right and and you don’t have to wait until the end of the month when all of your accounts are reconciled and cash has been accounted for. And your money team sends you your financial reports that might be one or two weeks after the month closes. And you might have hit your goal back on, you know, the 20th. So, you know, 20 days went past where you are grinding it out, trying so hard to hit your goal because you didn’t know that you hit it. And so this is the entire period where you can say, Wow, I hit that goal, or oh shoot, I’m not a goal. I need to grind right or I need to change my behavior. So again, just data points. It’s a way of enjoying the journey. Any last thoughts or interpretations that you can think of before we wrap up?

Victoria  24:58  

I think you know My biggest takeaway, and again, as a non finance person is just realizing how empowering it can be. To be in touch with your numbers and to know where your business is at. I know it’s so easy to want to run and hide and be overwhelmed. But it’s really so empowering and can help you build confidence and help you like you said, enjoy the journey, just by having something as simple as checking in.

Danielle  25:33  

Victoria, thank you so much for being here. I know the audience really appreciates it. If you enjoyed today’s episode, we ask you for one thing, if you could just like subscribe and share this episode with one other business owner or somebody that you know is struggling with their money mindset journey, or is an entrepreneur who is thriving and growing and trying to be their best best version of their Have a seat CEO, we will continue to show up and be a resource for you. If you have any questions or anything, any takeaways from this episode, you can send us a DM on Instagram to get started counting. We are also doing Facebook and Instagram live every week. So it’s our way of going deeper. So this episode will launch and you’ll have an opportunity to listen to it. If you have any questions on this episode, or any of the previous episodes that we’ve done. I don’t mind going back in the archives and talking about it. You can send us your questions and we’ll cover them in Facebook or Instagram Live. And then you can also show up right there, ask your questions live and have a dialogue with us. We want to hear from you. We want to continue to be a resource for you and we are rooting for you if I always tell our clients by tuning in right by you absorbing this information. You’re setting yourself up to be a successful business owner and I have so much faith in you because you’re brave enough to listen and you’re brave enough to be here that you are going to be set up for success and really thrive as a business owner. So thank you for being here and thank you for tuning in. Hello entrepreneur money started listeners we would like to kindly interrupt your show to invite you to our first esuite program the finance framework the finance Framework Program will give you direct access to weekly video training our exclusive resource library live q&a is with the kickstart counting eight account managers and access to me your CFO ox where to learn more and gain exclusive access visit kickstart accounting This program will sell out we’re only offering a limited amount of seats so do not let this opportunity pass you by again. Kickstart accounting

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