Data and Your Business: Simple Steps You Can Take Today to Improve Your Bottom Line Tomorrow

You know data is important — it drives your business forward. What you might not know is that it can drive bottom line results today. Right now. Here’s how.

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Identifying Opportunities

As a business owner, you know you have access to a lot of data. And, that data can be analyzed and reviewed to spark business growth this year. But, it’s up to you to figure out how to cull useful information out of that mountain of numbers.

A data scientist certification can help you if you don’t already have an IT specialist onboard. Otherwise, you need to outsource IT and get to work. For an ecommerce business, it might mean running Google Analytics to figure out times of the year new customers are most likely to buy. For brick-and-mortar companies, it means taking some time to look through monthly sales data from the previous 12 months. This helps you prepare for months when demand is high for your product.

Etsy is an example of a company that “gets” the power of making data-driven changes to fuel growth. Early on, the company saw how the number of visitors from mobile devices started to grow. So, they started optimizing pages to make them load faster, and prettier, for any phone.

Giving Your Team Valuable Information

Another way to use data to grow your business is by giving your employees information and tools so that they can make changes to the company’s processes — whether internal or customer-facing. That might mean giving them access to your CRM dashboard that organizes customer data in one place, or by using an app that streamlines inventory management.

Some apps also integrate nicely with sales and POS terminals, so you can track inventory turnover and make automatic reorders.

When you invest the time and money into your team, it lets them focus their energies on what they were hired to do: close deals and get product out the door.

Create Compelling Visualizations

Visuals are powerful. As the owner, you might have a firm grasp on how certain data is driving your business, but your employees don’t, and they need to know. The average person can’t decipher hundreds of rows in your spreadsheet.

This is where visuals become important. They’re easier for people to understand and “get,” and they’re also persuasive. Another way to use data is to take the time to transform spreadsheets into visually-compelling stories that drive awareness and increase conversions.

Offer Transparency

The last way you can use data is to be open and transparent with it. Give customers access to your data. It might sound scary, but it’s a growing trend among startups. And, it’s the only way to prove that you’re doing what you say you’re doing. The fact is, people want to know who they’re doing business with these days, and they want to know that your values are in sync with theirs.

Consumers expect businesses to be open and honest. They want certain personal and humanized small town “touch” when it comes to their interaction with you. And, if you’re not transparent, you come off as a stiff corporation with no soul.

Undеrѕtаndіng your customer

Mоѕt small buѕіnеѕѕеѕ hаvе mechanisms to collect information аbоut their сuѕtоmеrѕ. Bе it CRM, ERP or social media іntеrасtіоnѕ, there’s lоtѕ оf information аbоut specific customers. But the problem іѕ thаt thеу are kерt in іѕоlаtеd ѕіlоѕ. Thіѕ nоt only rеduсеѕ the еffісасу оf аnаlуѕіѕ, but іѕn’t роwеrful enough to give уоu іnfоrmаtіоn аbоut уоur сuѕtоmеr есоѕуѕtеm. By applying multivariate data analysis and intеgrаtіng these by using dаtа analysis tооlѕ іѕ thе wау tо gо. Whеn оnе аddѕ information frоm dіffеrеnt sources, customers don’t simply ѕtау as numbers оr data but have multірlе dіmеnѕіоnѕ, juѕt like іn rеаl lіfе.

Harriet Shaw is a small business consultant who has a well rounded knowledge of e-commerce businesses; from site design and SEO to data analytics. She shares her knowledge online in her articles.