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Dashing Looks

Want to see your company's latest data? A dashboard puts all the information you need in one clear display.

This story appears in the August 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Lewis Farsedakis wants to know a lot about Blinc Inc., the $5 million cosmetics firm he founded in 1999, which has grown more than 300 percent over the past five years. He wants sales figures for the current and previous month and year. He wants to know how many customer service calls came in and how many are unresolved. He wants a count of phone orders made and orders filled. He wants to know website hits, the number of online shopping carts abandoned and more. And he wants to know now, if not sooner.

The 36-year-old Herndon, Virginia, entrepreneur's need to know was once seriously frustrating. It required as many as a dozen paper reports. Each report demanded the attention of one or more of his 16 employees, and because of the time and trouble it took to prepare the reports, the data was always stale. Then Farsedakis began using an online service called NetSuite to generate all the key data he wanted in an easy-to-read, constantly updated dashboard-style readout. "The dashboard enables me to measure the business on a daily basis," Farsedakis says. "It also enables me to catch business problems as they emerge, as opposed to later."

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