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How can I make more informed decisions about my business?

The business you operate is typically considered “small.” Why, you might wonder, do you need Big Data to run it – especially when following your gut instinct has worked just fine so far?

The fact is, your instincts can only take you so far, and all of us have unintentional biases that can creep in and limit our ability to recognize opportunity. Besides, you already make data-based decisions every day. When you compare the price of two products, you are using data to inform your buying decision.

Similarly, every website click or credit card swipe generates data. Your customers’ online behavior and transaction data is worth something. You just need to learn how to use it.

For example, by tracking customer buying habits, you may be able to predict what they want before they search to find it. Similarly, business analytics tools can be designed to track sales over time to identify periods when demand for particular products and services may drop, enabling you to tweak pricing and offer specials based on market conditions and seasonal trends. You may also be able to shorten customer service calls if product performance data required for trouble-shooting is tracked and readily available for a technician’s use.

The scope of data-driven decision-making is virtually limitless. Depending on your goals, you can use it to create new business opportunities, generate greater revenue, improve your operations – and beyond.

To get started, you’ll first need to create a data-driven mindset among you and your staff. When someone makes a suggestion, ask what data they have to support it. Demand the same of yourself.

If there is a specific problem you need to solve, look for data you might collect that will lead you to a solution.

And remember: data doesn’t make decisions. Data-based decision-making requires someone who can interpret data and apply it to your business. THAT is your job.

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