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Member News: C.C. Eship / NACCE Journal Summer/Fall 2009

BestPractice:TheE-Lifecycle The E-Dashboard

Friday, September 18, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
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What is the state and health of your entrepreneurship program? How do you determine success? Maybe creating an E-Dashboard is the answer!

The answers to the above questions depend upon what is expected to be accomplished and what is considered to be important. The old adage "what is important is measured” is fundamental. So, for your Entrepreneurship Program, what do you consider to be the expected outcome? What is important to realizing that outcome? What are the indicators that enable you to determine progress towards your destination–ultimately success?

After considerable research, this article provides measures for you to consider in determining the current state of your E-Program, progress being made and, lastly, success of your E-Program.

The Entrepreneurship Dashboard (E-Dashboard), similar to the dashboard of any automobile (fuel gauge, temperature, speed, oil pressure, mileage, etc.), consists of a few strategic, simple and meaningful measures. Individually, and combined together, the measures provide intelligent insight into the state and health of the overall entrepreneurship program. Keep in mind, what is measured is a determinate as to what is considered to be important. Measures define what constitutes the definition of success.

You can combine several of these indicators or measures and calculate other meaningful measures to further analyze the health of your E-Program. For example, using the automobile dashboard analogy, combining the mileage or distance traveled indicator with fuel usage, you can determine the miles per gallon of gas consumed. Similarly, you can drill down more deeply into the health and performance of your program with other measures if needed.

So, what might be some insightful measures for your E-Dashboard? Referencing the above graphic, the following provides several key measures that you may find useful in building your E-Dashboard:

1. Market Potential: Size of the target market–those who are or could become involved in small business.

2. Market Impact: Awareness of your Entrepreneurship Program.

3. Enrollment: Enrollment in your first core course on entrepreneurship, e.g., "Introduction to Entrepreneurship Program.”

4. Business Plan: Number of "entrepreneurs” completing Business Plan.

5. Business Activity: Number of businesses launched, acquired, franchised, etc.

6. Sustainability: Number of businesses in business over time (longevity), e.g., 1, 2, 3, 5 years.

Each E-Dashboard measure is a strategic indicator and probe relating to a critical area of the E-Program. Individually, the measures are useful. Linking the Dashboard measures, you are also able to create an assessment of the entrepreneurship pipeline–a "supply chain.” Using the E-Dashboard as illustrated above, you will be able to determine effectiveness and efficiency of each area of your E-Program, including retention and success overall.

For each E-Dashboard measure, consider defining target goals. The goals should be intelligently defined–after benchmarking and research is concluded. Once you acquire some historical data, the data can provide trends as to the direction of your program, thus allowing you to determine trends and forecasts.

Use the dashboard measures to evaluate and assess other entrepreneurship programs for the purpose of identifying and leveraging best practices that will improve your entrepreneurship program’s performance.

The E-Dashboard provides insight that informs and supports decision-making. Ultimately the E-Dashboard defines through these measures what is expected to be achieved and what is important to the user.

Please feel free to contact me for additional information, questions or comments on the "The E-Dashboard” at

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