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Whatever size business you have, whether you are a one-(wo)man band or you head up a large team of employees, you will use data. It is an essential part of growing your business and attracting new clients and customers.
However, for data to be effective, it needs to be collected and presented properly, as well as thoroughly analyzed. Here, I look at how you can use it to drive your business forward.
What is data?
When you think of data, what do you think of? I bet it’s lots of statistics and numbers, all presented in a fancy graph or chart. I’m right, aren’t I? Well, you aren’t wrong, but data is so much more than that, and if you are going to use it effectively, you need to understand it properly. You will probably hear it described as ‘big data’, and essentially, that means it is large sets of data that requires a computer to analyse, as opposed to more traditional forms of data such as that gleaned from small scale surveys and market research. It is important that the data that you collect is thorough and analysed properly – data quality management is essential.
How can data help drive your business forward?
It helps you to make decisions:
Any business with a website, a social media presence, that accepts electronic payments of some form, etc., has data about customers, user experience, web traffic, and much more right at their fingerprints. All that data is filled with potential if you can learn to access it and use it to improve your company. For example, after reviewing your inventory data, you know which stock is flying off the shelves and what is still lurking and collecting dust. This data then allows you to decide what to do with the products that aren’t selling – perhaps put something more popular in its place.
It helps you to solve problems
After experiencing a slow sales month or finishing up a marketing campaign that doesn’t seem to have been as effective as it could, how do you put your finger on what exactly went wrong? Perhaps you want to find out more about how engaged your employees are. How do you do that? Through data, of course! Tracking and reviewing data from business operations helps you to examine performance breakdowns in much more detail so you can better understand each part of it and know which steps need to be optimized in the future and which are performing well.
It helps you to understand your consumers and market
Without data, how do you know who the people buying your products or subscribing to your service are? Without data, how do you know if consumers like your products or if your marketing efforts are working? Without data, how do you know how much money you are making or spending? Data is vital to understanding your customers and the market.