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Maximizing Microsoft Excel for business growth & success

Information — it’s the cornerstone of any business. Business leaders and owners are responsible for providing essential data to others and for making smart decisions based on the information they receive.

Microsoft Excel is the most popular spreadsheet software and is designed to help users perform a myriad of business tasks including the management of information. Whether you are budgeting, organizing client sales lists, or need to plan an office social gathering, Excel is a powerful tool that has become entrenched in business processes worldwide. However most people are only tapping into the surface of its capabilities.

Workers and prospective employees are required to learn Excel in order to enter or remain in the workplace. As a trainer in the business and corporate arena, I spend a significant amount of the year in businesses working with teams on topics in Excel. What I’ve discovered over the years is this. Tasks some people will complete in eight hours others can do in five minutes — or in some cases in five seconds.

The use of Excel is a critical one in the growth and operations of businesses. The following are a few ways Excel can be used to help businesses grow.

Increase sales: At its core the growth of any business primarily depends on revenue growth. Excel can be used to help organizations increase sales. That tool can be used to target profitable demographics, customer segmentation and productservice partnering. Every business has a particular array of demographics that it serves. However, it may be possible to increase sales by looking at sales activity related to age over time. A Microsoft Excel Pivot Table can be used to reveal trends in sales. For example which age group contributes most to sales? Which demographic group is growing fastest? Armed with information like this a business owner can focus its marketing efforts and productservice offerings to better target the group, garner more sales and more growth.

Strategic decisions: Better and more informed decisions translate to more money. Many small and medium size organizations make decisions based on intuition. However, strategic decisions should be based on facts. What should be the next product line? Which demographic should I target? What partnerships should I explore? Microsoft Excel can be used to develop a financial model. Other useful data analytical features such as What-if and Conditional Formatting can be used to make intelligent decisions about your business.

Multiply manpower: Excel can give the average ability to do more with less (or more with the same amount). In every business, manual tasks are needed. However, anything that can be automated should be. Macros is a feature used to automate redundant tasks in Excel. Tasks which can take a physical person hours or days to complete can be automated with a Macro and be executed in a matter of seconds or minutes. With this time savings, labour resources can be used in other ways, such as garnering more business or adding more value to productsservices to further differentiate from competitors.


You can do anything with a spreadsheet

Using Excel for business has almost no limits for applications. Here are some other examples:

• When planning a team outing to a baseball game, you can use Excel to track the RSVP list and costs.

• Excel creates revenue growth models for new products based on new customer forecasts.

• When planning an editorial calendar for a website, you can list out dates and topics in a spreadsheet.

• When creating a budget for a small product, you can list expense categories in a spreadsheet, update it monthly and create a chart to show how close the product is to budget across each category.

• You can calculate customer discounts based on monthly purchase volume by product.

• Users can summarize customer revenue by product to find areas where to build a stronger customer relationships.

This is a very short list to give you an idea of the diverse uses for Excel. On a typical day at the office, people have Excel open 4-8 hours. Most couldn’t do their job effectively without it.

The bottom line about Microsoft Excel is this. It is not going anywhere, and businesses will continue to use Excel as a primary tool for diverse functions and applications ranging from IT projects to company picnics.

A working knowledge of Excel is vital for most office based professionals and business leaders today, and stronger Excel skills can open the door to promotion, leadership and growth opportunities. Excel is a powerful tool but cannot function alone. It takes a savvy computer user to take advantage of everything Excel has to offer to provide the best results for their company.

If you are looking to improve your Excel skills and maximize its use, join me at my upcoming Microsoft Excel workshop on Thursday, April 28 beginning at 9am. This course is an investment in your personal and business productivity and you’ll find yourself using your new found knowledge for all kinds of projects. For more information or to register contact me at [email protected]


• If you have an Excel question or would like to discuss an in-house or one on one training, schedule a call with me at


Keshelle Davis is a master trainer in the areas of business skills and personal development, a speaker, author and entrepreneur. Her roles include executive director of the Chamber Institute, the education arm the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce; president of Creative Wealth Bahamas and founder of The Training Authority. Keshelle was listed as The Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40 for the 40th anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas. Contact Keshelle at [email protected].

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