Detmer's Corner: Drive Your Results Every Month With A Monthly Report
Those of you working for larger companies know all too well the advantages of publishing monthly reports. Doing so is part of a business regimen that helps companies align their efforts, communications and hit their goals. I’ve been writing them since beginning in the consumer electronics business decades ago and looking back on them is a testament to my accomplishments over the years. But more importantly, the exercise helps focus my efforts on what really matters to the company at the time.
Even if you are an independent contractor, publishing a monthly report will be of value. Through the process of writing down your results and activities, you’ll gain valuable insight into how you can improve your business. Simply stating your revenues and expenses will help you understand how to best grow your profits. Capturing your activities will help you understand how to become more productive. And stating your risks and opportunities will help you take advantage of emerging business and mitigate risks that block your path.
Regardless if you are in a large organization or a small one, here are a few tips to making your monthly reporting exercise drive results:
1) Note and report on the results that you are accountable for. For instance, a sales manager would include period-to-date sales and year-to-date sales and compare them to the benchmark of last year. His report might read: Sales for the period were $XX and for the year so far are $YY. This is ZZ percent above the same period last year and ZZ percent up
for the year. On the other hand a crew leader might report: We completed X jobs in the period and a total of Y jobs so far this year. This is Z jobs greater than the same period last year and ZZ jobs greater than last year to date.
2) Outline what you and/or your group did over the past month. For instance, a purchasing agent might report on reducing inventory levels while improving on-time inventory availability. This may be dollarized and put into a metric such as inventory turns (a calculation to show how many times inventory is sold in a given period). That report might read: inventory turns increased in the period by X compared to last period of Y. In another example a trainer might state that he trained X amount of people which is an increase of Y percent over his monthly training average. He might also list the major customers or territories he trained so that sales could track his effectiveness by looking at the next period’s results with those customers or territories.
3) Point out any potential risks or opportunities in dollars. Every business or business unit has risks that if not mitigated will negatively affect the business. Additionally, there are probably opportunities that when identified and addressed could result in an uptick in business and profitability. Use clear short statements to quantify each and offer suggestions to resolve or maximize the noted risks and opportunities.
4) Don’t CYA. All too often reports are used as a tool to cover one’s behind. Don’t get into the habit of doing this. It undermines your ability to think and act positive and alienates you from your team. Instead, point out what assistance you could use in the upcoming period to perform better. Nobody likes a finger pointer, so don’t be one.
The purpose of a monthly report routine for you and your company is to document progress in achieving your goals and objectives. Doing so is a way to frame what you did and what you need to do going forward. I urge you to begin writing a narrative every month as a way of reflecting on where you are, where you are going and how you will get there. You’ll be surprised at the results when you do. Oh, can’t write worth a darn? No problem, the last time I looked every smartphone has a voice recorder. Register your report there.
Mike Detmer is the Vice President
of Sales and Marketing at Russound and can be reached at mdetmer@