Data can feel like an inaccessible word for small businesses. You want to use business intelligence effectively, but you feel that you don’t have the resources at your disposal to do so. While it is true that Fortune 500 companies use their data at a higher level than most stores on Main Street can afford to do, that isn’t to say that analytics is the privilege of only the wealthy.
As tech continues to progress there are more ways than ever for direct-to-consumer businesses of any size to use numbers to their advantage. In this article, we take a look at ways you can harness the power of numbers to grow your business.
How to Use Data to Help Grow Your Business
In the digital age, data has become a valuable asset for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses can leverage data to gain insights, make informed decisions, and drive growth. Here are several ways small businesses can effectively utilize data:
- Customer insights: Data can provide you with an in-depth look at what your customers like and how they behave. This is a particularly valuable asset for businesses that are selling directly to consumers. Buyer analytics help you to operate more efficiently and maximize the impact of your sales efforts.
- Improve your operational efficiency: Data can also be used for administrative purposes, helping you to optimize your operations and increase your office management, and general productivity. A careful look at the numbers will help you identify redundancies while streamlining your overall workflow.
- Competitor analysis: You can also use data to analyze the larger market, helping you to stay informed about what your competitors are up to. By monitoring industry data along with competitive intelligence you can spot opportunities and make valuable strategic adjustments that help you beat out your competitors.
- Marketing: Data has made marketing much more precise than it used to be. Through analytics, it is now easier than ever to optimize your customer communication channels and produce advertising copy that appeals to your precise audience.
- Risk assessment: Data can also help you understand the risks associated with specific decisions. For example, if you are considering making a big business move—an expansion or product launch, say, a close look at the numbers can help you better understand the possible scenarios involved.
By harnessing the power of data, small businesses can gain a competitive edge, improve operational efficiency, better understand their customers, and make informed decisions that drive growth and success. But where are these numbers coming from?
Chances are, you already have them. Most digital tools come with their own analytic cache. Even your social media accounts should produce a clear and relatively easy-to-understand record of how people are responding to your outreach efforts.
To start trying to use data strategically for your small business, take a look at the analytic features of your existing tech stack. While you may need to invest in additional digital infrastructure to streamline your analytic process, your existing tools should be adequate enough to give you a good start.
If you want to make data a central tool in your operations you may find that is worth pursuing special training. You may be pleased to note that this will not necessarily require a degree. There are many short-term resources available to help you upgrade your skills without taking up much of your time.
- Online classes: Most universities offer classes online. Consider taking entry-level data-related courses to further your understanding of skills that are relevant to your business. As an entrepreneur, you don’t need to get a degree to do the work. Take classes that you are interested in and skip the rest.
- Skill boot camps: Skill boot camps are mini-educational seminars that take place over weeks instead of years. They are usually offered by accredited institutions and can be included in your resume—not that you need to do so. These boot camps will provide a sweeping overview of everything you need to know about business analytics. While the courses won’t be as in-depth as a four-year degree, they should still help you get the ball rolling for your business.
If you don’t want to take on the role of a data analyst for your own business, that is understandable. Fortunately, there is a wide range of professionals out there who can help you start using data to grow your business.
These professionals are often available on a freelance basis and can be brought in to help you pursue specific goals. For example, are you considering launching a new product? You may want to hire a business analyst to help you determine what your customers are looking for.
While these analysts aren’t cheap, they usually pay for themselves with the valuable information that they provide, helping you to take some of the guesswork out of your decision-making.