For many the thought of massive amounts of unstructured data mixed with structured to drive business insights is overwhelming. As a small to mid-sized business you may already be dabbling in the big data world, but not using the insights. David Williams of Forbes Magazine provides tips to help small businesses and entrepreneurs frame up their big data strategy:
- Organize your data. The first step but perhaps the most complicated. Start today to centralize, catalog and prioritize the data you collect.
- Collect more data. Do you have more opportunities to collect data on your customers? Mr. Williams writes, “If it doesn’t hurt your organization to just add 2-3 more columns of information you collect about a customer, DO IT!”
- Utilize public data. The government is making more and more data public for small business use. A few examples include housing records, demographics, crime, census and salary figures.
- Ask the right questions. Once you have your data organized. What kinds of business questions do you have? What problems would you like to solve? Can your data set provide the insight you need.
Analyzing the data is perhaps another hurdle to a big data strategy. Don’t have the expertise on staff? Look for an outside, technology partner or Mr. Williams suggests talk to a local community college or university for opportunities to pair up with professors who could use your problem as a teaching opportunity for their students.
Mr. Williams points out, “Data is neutral and provides a foundation of facts to make effective, smart decisions. This data needs to be used to help your profitability and your strategy, no matter how big or how small you plan to use it to inform your organization.”
Share how you use data to make better business decisions.