Is big data only useful to big corporations or should small businesses also be finding their competitive edge through data? Below are various tools and solutions for small businesses to use their data and the data surrounding them without completely changing the way their company operates and without burning a huge hole in their pockets.
Due to falling technology costs and new open source tools and data, smaller companies can mine new data insights to make informed decisions for their business. Most small business owners to not believe they can use big data to propel their company simply because they do not think they have access to big data. Even though your small business may not be recording gigabytes of data, there is plenty of public data that you can take advantage of.
Sources on Inc.com recommend cross-referencing your company’s internal data with rapidly expanding external data. Examples of this external data are social networks, government databases, mobile device usage patterns, call-center interactions, and newly available sensor data through the Internet of Things (IoT).
The overall goal is to understand and anticipate your client’s needs.
If your company has an internet presence, you can take a few steps to optimize your marketing strategy. For example you can track how visitors move from page to page and find what engages various visitors. By understanding what time of day or season customers engage, you can change when you deploy new marketing schemes. By simply describing your most popular customers you can target similar groups through online marketing.
If your small business is using external marketing or booking services online, it is also important to determine which of those services are increasing your return on investment and which are not generating business. This small step can save your small business thousands of dollars long term.
All of these examples seem like simple questions to answer but because the data is dispersed across different systems, the data needs to be integrated and presented to business managers in a form from which they can make final decisions.
Goldstrike Data recommends finding or hiring someone to develop personalized and flexible solutions. One size fits all solutions that you may find from larger service companies may be overly expensive and the startup cost will be much larger because they will have to develop full data infrastructure. By building on current data and operational systems your business has in place the startup cost will be smaller and the transition to using new tools will not be so difficult.