How Data Can Narrow the Playing Field for Small Business

Data Driven Economy

We live in a world where data has become one of the most valuable resources. Many types of businesses, regardless of industry or sector have jumped on the data bandwagon over the last decade. One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is limited resources, whether it be time or money. But data can help your business:

  • Become more efficient

  • Find better opportunities

  • And most importantly help you make better decisions

With data, you don’t need to base decisions on a hunch, you have facts behind you.

Do I need Data?

When a lot of people think of data they think of the “big data” that companies like Amazon and Google use. However, many small businesses don't think about the data they currently have access to. Every time you ring in that new sale, there are benefits that extend beyond the cash value. Knowing your customer is your best offense in this new customer-driven world where smart and savvy shoppers know what they want.

Small businesses cannot (and should not) try to compete on price, but with the help of data they can provide personalized services to their customers. For example, in large organizations, sufficient time is needed to react to customer preferences, but small business owners can be nimble and quick in response to their customers’ needs. You can also use data to target a certain demographic, your biggest spenders, or most frequent shoppers.

Identifying Trends

After the past several years of working with organizations that don’t have a lot of resources, I’ve found that simple data analysis can be just as effective as the complex systems many large organizations use. Though data can provide valuable insights, it can become very expensive and complex for a small business owner. A simple place to start is identifying trends using your own historic data. There are many tools that are free, low cost, and easy to use that you can start with such as:

  • Google Analytics: tracks traffic on your website, and evaluates the performance of your content and marketing.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): from time to time make sure you are monitoring your sales process. Do certain customers sit in your pipeline longer than average? Are you spending too much time with a segment of customers that don’t yield the results you are looking for? Your CRM is a great place to eval