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Use Data to Take the Guesswork Out of Running a Business





There’s no room for assumptions when running a business. But luckily, technology offers plenty of opportunities for businesses to find almost any kind of data they might be able to use.

Data can be used to develop products, come up with marketing campaigns, track the success of various initiatives, and basically anything else you can think of.

Not all business owners necessarily take advantage of all these different types of data. But they should, according to Sujan Patel. He explained in a recent Forbes article why data can make such a big difference to businesses developing and marketing their products.

The example he cited was a meal delivery company called Munchery. The entrepreneur behind Munchery, Conrad Chu, was having trouble figuring out why the company’s premium level meals weren’t selling in a new market. So he turned to his data. Patel wrote:

“The data revealed several remarkable trends, including identifying vastly different tastes when comparing Seattle based customers to those in San Francisco. Without the initiative to undertake this kind of exploration – as well as the tools needed to make such data analysis a possibility – Chu’s enterprise would be stuck wondering why a previously successful approach wasn’t working in a new market.”

There are so many different tools for collecting data when running a business, from Google Analytics to tools like Import.io, which can gather data from other sites. So that means that your company doesn’t really have an excuse to not collect all of the data that it possibly can.

With so many tools and so much different information, actually making sense of it all could prove to be the tricky part. But there are data professionals and plenty of online resources that can help you actually draw conclusions from your data.

If you’re able to collect data about your customers and their habits and actually use it to make improvements in your business, that takes away a lot of the guesswork. So your previous assumptions about what’s likely to work for your business will turn into educated actions. And that change is likely to give you a much bigger chance at success.

Data on Screen Photo via Shutterstock

8 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

8 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    The good thing with tracking and having enough data is that you can somehow predict what will happen in the future for your business. Although it will not be exact and you will still do your own testing, it is still better than having nothing.

    • Annie Pilon

      True – unfortunately it’s not an exact science. But after awhile I think you can determine what data can actually be used to make predictions and what might be more of a coincidence.

  2. This is a great post. Most business owners are not aware of Google Analytics, something available for free, that can help them monitor the traffic in their websites. Looking at the data helps not only to predict what will happen in the future, as mentioned by Aira, but might help a business owner to identify gaps and work on new business opportunities.

    • Annie Pilon

      Absolutely – Google Analytics is a great example of a tool that takes little to no investment but can offer you so much in the way of insights.

  3. This point cannot be stressed enough. Too many small businesses, run by smart, talented people, operate on personal preferences, outdated market perceptions and assumptions. And you know what the say about “assumptions”!

    Anyone planning to stay in business or someday sell their business would be wise to heed the advice offered in this post.

  4. I agree Annie…as a very seasoned consultant…my first goal with my clients is to acquire relevant data to start making business decisions…I have stopped being surprised to learn that most $20M companies do not know their customers buying behaviors and how to reach them. Many fail to remember that the two most important aspects of every business…is the ability to effectively communicate their value proposition to the right people as well as to acquire recurring new monthly income…shhhh!….that was the secret of all successful businesses!

    • Annie Pilon

      Great points! It shouldn’t be a surprise that people need to gather data about their target customers. But some businesses still don’t really take advantage.

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