Outlining what to build in client templates

If you have a special project or existing report you want to automate, you probably know where to start (and should start!). But in almost every case, you will want to create a base template that gives every executive in your niche a starting point for understanding the health of their business, where it’s going, and how that compares to their peers.

We colloquially refer to these base templates as “Executive boards” because they typically start with *at least* the information every high-level executive would want to know about their business.

Things like:

  • Liquidity

  • Profit Margin

  • Sales

  • Borrowing

  • Asset management

  • Employees

So, first establish what you’d like to put in an executive board. This will be our first template.

But that is pretty general stuff, and we’re all about getting specific.

Why? Drilling in and thinking about analytics specifically means you’re providing relevant insights.

Relevant Insights = Money.

By the transitive property, Specificity = Money

Every one of your clients’ businesses is unique and likely experiencing unique challenges. Not to say you won’t apply similar strategies to solve categorical issues, but chances are, no two clients are going through the same issues, at the same level, at the same time.

To really deliver value and become a trusted advisor to your clients, you need to ask the right questions. You need to identify what unique insight you can generate for their current situation.

What questions should you ask? Open-ended ones.

Here are a few questions we like to lead with when getting to the root of what we should build for an SMB client:

  • What is your single biggest business challenge this fiscal year?

  • What happened that made you think, “I need to do something about [single biggest challenge]”?

  • What would you like to see happen? What does a home run look like in this situation?

  • If you were to achieve that, what would that mean for your business?

  • What would happen if you were to do nothing about this problem?

After getting a better understanding of what your client is struggling with, you will start to form a picture for what you’d like to build. Often this incorporates very specific KPIs to your clients business (something your executive dashboard might not cover).

Maybe it’s:

👩‍💻 Average order price for your eCommerce clients struggling with increasing revenue from a steady customer base, or

🛍️ Revenue per square foot for your retail clients who’s rent expense margin is a bit higher than the average retail space, or

👩‍⚕️ Payer spread for your physicians who are building a great book of business but the $$ isn’t showing up in their bank accounts.

The goal here is to build a board that answers the most important questions for your client at that time. We go as far as to name boards after the issues they solve for, like “How much do I owe?”

Asking the right questions and building those client-specific reports is an advisory gold mine.

Searching for inspiration?

Make sure to check out our site, ReallyGoodAnalytics.com

ReallyGoodAnalytics.com is a library of insightful blocks and boards created by fellow Malartu customers and a few companies we admire. We highly recommend subscribing to get continuous inspiration, even after you’ve built your first templates.

How templates work

Templates can be found in the pre-built library and can be either:

  • Smart Metrics (template calculations)

  • Blocks (template elements of a board)

  • Boards (entire template dashboards)

The goal during this initial implementation is to develop a template board that will be useful for all your clients in a certain niche and gets you 75-80% of the way to an advisory offering.

Since templates are fully editable, you can dial the rest of that 25% on a per-client basis to arrive at an insightful data masterpiece for each and every client.

Pro tip: Some clients will want to dive deeper into their operational data than others, which is also where your pricing packages come into play. We recommend trying to fit your executive board into your base package so that you can start there with everyone. As clients ask more questions and demand more analysis, they will naturally move into higher plans.

👷 Have an idea of what you’d like to build, let’s do it!