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Small business conversations: Your business deserves a "big data" strategy

Over half of all small businesses in the United States use big data analytics to try to improve their businesses. over 73% of said businesses use data analytics to acquire new customers.

Your business is never too “small'' to take advantage of the benefits of “big data”.

The feasibility and potential benefits - or lack thereof - of implementing a big data strategy have always been part of a larger debate among small business owners and Startups alike.

With many small business owners and entrepreneurs resigning themselves to the idea that such actions will inherently yield more cons than pros. To put it quite bluntly, many small businesses - especially those with limited resources - believe, and with good reason, that there are no good reasons to implement and run their businesses on big data or data analytics.

There is a natural tendency for folks starting out in business to want to run a business they often perceive as less complicated. Seeing as most small businesses in the U.S are also, typically operated by one person, the so-called solopreneur if you will (approximately 81 percent, or 25.7 million).

An idiot's definition of "Big data"

Before I finish this thought, let me try to help define “Big data”. Again, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so here is my understanding of Big data based on my years of experience: This simple concept emanates from the actions one takes in setting up a system, or systems, using multiple streams of information to help improve one or more aspects of one’s business.

Trying to dig through a continuous multifaceted inpouring of data points about your customers to help improve their experience at your hotel is an example of putting big data to use at your business. To put a finer point on it:

Five-star treatment

Over a period of a year or so, you come to realize that an overwhelming number of your customers - at this hypothetical hotel - come in directly from your local airport. They are often traveling with one or more pets. Let's say dogs because cats are not real pets, am I right?

And being the savvy business owner that you are, you come up with some type of reliable, formal, or informal way to collect and analyze this data.

So how do you use this intel? Well, for example, you create a direct, albeit cost-effective, shuttle service from the airport to your location, arrange for some type of pet care services, and other pet, ahem, dog-friendly services to be included with your offerings.

You are sure to see a return on your investment as more customers will naturally end up at your location and will enjoy their stay. Here is the best example I could come up with. But, I suspect you get the point.

As small business owners, we must strive, on a daily basis, to take advantage of all available resources to help connect with our customers and grow our businesses. Oh, and improve on the services we provide long-term.

Such lofty goals can be achieved, even if incrementally, when we, as the leaders of our organizations strive to cultivate a systemic culture of curated services. This may seem impractical to some, but data, coupled with technology can be how you get there.

Worth the time

So, is it worth it? I mean all the trouble one must go through to set up these data-collection and data analysis systems. How much of an impact will embracing Big data (Big D) have on one's business?

I shall try to provide a two-part answer to that, these?, question(s). The many advantages/benefits derived from the use of big data within your organization include:

  • Cost reductions

  • Revenue growth (and profitability)

  • Improvement in operational efficiencies

  • So much more

In my next article (in the series), I shall delve deeper into some of these benefits. Until then, I want to apologize for the thing I said about cats earlier on. I know now, that my words and actions may have hurt some in the "Weirdo Cat Lover" community.


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