TYPES OF SOLUTIONS

We often get people saying, “If only we knew you did that, we would have come to you first.” That is because people tend to limit us to what they have already done using spreadsheets, and not to what we can do. To try and combat this, we have looked at most of the work we do, and broken the projects down into 6 categories. These are very broad categories, but hopefully they will be able to show you what is possible, and expand your expectations. Take a look at the categories and examples below. If your idea doesn’t fall into any category, don’t worry; we have done some crazy spreadsheets before!

DATABASE-STYLE SPREADSHEETS

Description

This is what you would imagine most spreadsheets to look like. Lines and columns of data; each line being a different set of data, all fields in the correct columns. Most people make their spreadsheets like this. We make ours more exciting, more colourful and dynamic, not to mention all the reports which we generate from the data. The main input page of this type of spreadsheet will be in a grid form, but the resulting report pages can be set out in different ways.

Examples We’ve Done

Finance Management, Sales Trackers, Small CRM Solutions, Task Organisers, Order Monitors, Client Follow-Ups, Staff Management, Stock Control, Data Converters, and many more.

Example to Download

Here is a typical database of business people you may meet. Meet the person you wish to refer and add their name to the database. Then, when you’re asked for someone like them, simply select them in the report and export their information. This is a classic contact database, but with added features which use the data you’ve added. Download the Networking Referral Database.

What to Look Out For

You may already have spreadsheets laid out in database format, but are they doing all they can? What do you actually get out of your data – would reports on that data be useful? If you have a situation where your data is (or can be) laid out in lines and columns, but you want it to be more automated and give you more information, then this would be an indication for you to get in touch.

SOFTWARE-STYLE SPREADSHEETS

Description

We don’t just make spreadsheets that look like spreadsheets, but also those that look more like software packages. These types of spreadsheets are laid out more like software, so instead of the data being entered into lines and columns, it is entered into specified fields. We need the data in the spreadsheet to use it. How it is laid out, is up to you. These kinds of spreadsheets are ideal for job cards, where you can monitor various aspects of each client or project. Usually containing a few tabs, these spreadsheets are normally more comprehensive.

Examples We’ve Done

Job Cards, Large CRM Systems, Project Management Solutions, and other complex spreadsheets.

Example to Download

As these are more complicated spreadsheets, we don’t have any suitable free downloads, but we do have a brochure of our own (old) internal job card. This is the job card we used to use to monitor our projects. You can download the Case Study and take a look at what we mean by a job card.

What to Look Out For

Software-style spreadsheets are for when you need to monitor projects, clients, or any other procedure where you need more than one line of data per client/project. It is usually a case of having various ‘input’ tabs where you can add relevant data, which are laid out in fields rather than a grid. This data can then fuel dashboards, reports, lists, checks and balances, in order to keep you informed. If you need some kind of bespoke software, check if we can do it in a spreadsheet first. It could save you a fortune.

DATA ANALYSIS

Description

This seems to be a very popular request, probably because we all have data in abundance, yet we very seldom know what it means. These spreadsheets are made in the same layout as your exported data, but are connected to various reports. This means that you can get your hands on a CSV file of exported data, copy the data, paste it into a custom made spreadsheet, and then see the report! These are also useful to report on sales data.

Examples We’ve Done

Social Media Success Reports, Energy Usage, Product Tracking, Profit Calculator, and various other spreadsheets to analyse all sorts of data.

Example to Download

We know that most social media sites allow you to export data, so we have made a series of spreadsheets to give you reports on your social media success. If you use Facebook (business page), Twitter, LinkedIn (business page), YouTube, or Google Analytics, then take a look at these Social Media Analysis spreadsheets. They are free to download.

What to Look Out For

What data do you have? What systems, software, websites, or programmes do you use, which let you export data? If you have any such sets of data, do you know what that data is telling you? If not, then one of these spreadsheets would be ideal. Simply add your data, and see what it is telling you with charts, graphs, and reports. Is your data not in CSV format? No problem, we just need the data in the spreadsheet. We don’t care where it comes from.

WORD-TYPE SPREADSHEETS

Description

When you need numbers added you think of Excel, but when you think of letters or documents, do you think of Excel or Word? Now don’t get me wrong, Word is excellent, but what about when you need your data to generate the letter? Yes you can use a mail merge, but sometimes you need something more comprehensive. We create the letters in Excel, fuelled by the data on the same spreadsheet.

Examples We’ve Done

Automated Letters, Process Paperwork, Rosters, Client Reports, and other documents which are driven by data.

Example to Download

We have done a particular project, where someone wanted to create a letter for each of her clients. She wanted to use the same template, but have various bits of data change, depending on the client’s information. This is a classic example of this type of spreadsheet, but don’t just limit us to letters. These are very useful to report on the progress of projects, in order to give to your client. Take a look at the Case Study of this project.

What to Look Out For

If you’re wanting to create any letter, report, review, or document, which will use data from somewhere else, then get in touch. If you ever find yourself opening an old Word document, making changes based on your new client/project, and then saving as a new file, then this is for you. We not only make the spreadsheet to store the client’s data, but then use the data to generate the documents accordingly.

INTERACTIVE SPREADSHEETS

Description

This kind of spreadsheet is one where you answer questions, or make selections, in order to produce some kind of result. You could use this for a custom price generator, an appraisal or review, or some sort of KPI monitor. It is created in order for you (or someone else) to answer questions or make selections, which would alter the report. This spreadsheet is extremely popular, as it can eliminate unnecessary administration for you by working out the result itself.

Examples We’ve Done

Training Modules, Target Trackers, Interactive Price Lists, Key Performance Indicators, 360 Appraisals, Product Viability Indicators, Questionnaires, and other automated result checkers.

Example to Download

We have done a particular project, where someone wanted to create a letter for each of their clients. They wanted to use the same template, but have various bits of data change, depending on the client information. This is a classic example of this type of spreadsheet, but don’t just limit us to letters. These are very useful to report on the progress of projects, in order to give to your client. Take a look at the Case Study of this project.

What to Look Out For

Do you spend time working out quotes based on a client’s selection of products or services and a price list? Do you have a form for potential clients to fill in, so that you can see if they need your services? Do you appraise staff or want to monitor KPIs based on collected data or answers? These are the kinds of tasks which could be automated. Add or select the data; see the report. As simple as that.

DASHBOARD SPREADSHEETS

Description

Everyone loves a good dashboard. Whether you have a dashboard to report on data in a spreadsheet, or whether you import the data just to see the dashboard, it is convenient to see an overall view of the project on one page. Yes, you need all the data to be able to do your job, but seeing a birds-eye view of the project is often vital. Larger companies love these, but why should us smaller businesses miss out on all the fun?

Examples We’ve Done

Data Dashboards, Project Progression Charts, Price Tracker Reports, and other dashboards to monitor bespoke data.

Example to Download

Some of the data which we all use, but we seldom understand, is our utility usage. When you get a call saying, “We can save you money on your utilities”, can they really? We have created a simple spreadsheet where you can periodically enter your energy usage, as well as the costs for the energy. When you get that call, simply enter their prices, and see on the dashboard if you will actually save money. This Utilities Tracker is yours for free!

What to Look Out For

When you have data, but you need to see an overall view of a project or client on one page. Even if you don’t have the data, why not create the place to add it on the spreadsheet? If you do projects where you need to track various aspects, and would like a one-page dashboard to show an overall view, then get in touch.

Have these types of spreadsheets inspired you? Your requirement may fit nicely into one category, it may be a combination of a few, it may require a category of its own, we would still love to talk about it. We hope that this has shown you that spreadsheets can do more than you may have thought, and that we could have some solutions for you and your business. If this has given you ideas as to what could help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.