The DataHero Blog

Small Business And Your Data

November 13th, 2014

SMALL BUSINESS

In business, success is in the details and the details are in the data. Data isn’t just for large corporations or data scientists anymore. We’re all being prompted to make data-driven decisions to move our businesses forward.

Businesses compile marketing data, data related to customer management, payment processing data, financial management data and so on. How does a small business make sense of it all?

Data Overload: A Common Small Business Challenge

On the plus side, businesses have access to more data about operations, performance, the marketplace and economy than ever before. Unfortunately, it can be easy to drown in all this data.

Data collection has become so efficient and so complete that they all too often produce more data than we can make sense of. Not only does data come from different sources, such as spreadsheets, reports and accounting software applications, it also comes from different platforms. This includes SaaS applications, cloud storage drives, mobile devices, PCs and tablets. How do we know what metrics to stay focused on?

While no one will argue that staying on top of critical business data can be overwhelming, this does not eliminate the need that we have to stay on top of it in order to effectively plan, compete and succeed. Data helps to make connections and drive informed decisions about a wide variety of business issues:

  • Financial performance and trends
  • Inbound marketing strategies
  • Email campaign effectiveness
  • Sales effectiveness
  • Customer satisfaction levels and engagement
  • Customer payment forms, trends and levels
  • Project management timeliness
  • SEO effectiveness
  • Website user analytics
  • Event management and ROI
  • Customer survey data

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if there was a way to sort through it all so that raw data became information and information became knowledge? There is.

Overcoming Infoglut: The Knowledge Management (KM) Approach

Data without context is infoglut. Infoglut, as defined by the Business Dictionary, is:

“Masses of continuously increasing information, so poorly catalogued or organized (or not organized at all) that it is almost impossible to navigate to search or draw any conclusion or meaning.”

Not surprisingly, the definition also introduces information anxiety and information overload as common factors. Needless to say, this is not where any business owner or manager can afford to be.

The objective is to make your business data work for you not against you. Data is information. Information is knowledge, and in business, knowledge is power.

How do you turn your data into insights? First, it’s best to establish clear metrics you’d like to track and identify where your business is performing well and where it could improve. Then, it’s helpful to pull all your information into one place, and use a visualization tool to help you identify key trends. This is where DataHero comes in. It connects to the cloud services you already use, and has a user-friendly design that doesn’t require a technical background. From there, you can easily identify how to move your business forward and establish a data-driven culture. 

Have small business data you’d like to try out?

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The Knowledge Institute contributed to this article.

By Kelli Simpson

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