A recent column in Dynamic Business entitled “Big data and small business: 5 tips to make it work” caught my attention. When you think of matches made in heaven, you think peanut butter and chocolate (at least I do), lemon and lime, or lamb and tuna fish. Wait what? We don’t immediately think small business and big data can work in tandem, in fact, most would view them on opposite ends of the spectrum.
The fact of the matter is that any business, no matter how big or how small can use data to analyze their practices. The article makes a great point: “In the digital age, there’s no such thing as being too small for big data.” In many areas, small businesses are the economy. Collecting and analyzing data can provide a massive edge, regardless of industry, company size, or geographic location. The smarter your business, the more likely it is to succeed.
Small businesses can use big data, too. Here’s how:
Keep your eyes on the prize and blend that data!
Companies collect large amounts of data from a variety of different sources. It can be overwhelming to have such large stores of data staring you in the face. Keeping your eyes on the prize is the key here; don’t get sidetracked with the data that doesn’t bring you closer to your goals. Use the data that gets you to your objective.
Get data into the hands of the right people
It is believed by many that big data is the new deciding factor as to who wins and who loses in modern digital businesses. Getting the appropriate data into the grasp of the people who need it is key. This is where data distribution comes into play. If the data is complex, it may be best to pass it along to the people who specialize in its handling. Anyone can be a data scientist, but not everyone can be a data scientist, if you know what I mean.
Data democratization; let the data roam free
Putting data in the hands of more people gives organizations an edge. It allows for more eyes to potentially discover trends, viable new business strategies, and more. Providing access to a larger audience of users can do wonders, even though small businesses typically have wait for it…a small number of employees. Data and tools to extrapolate statistics from data should be shared. People do their jobs better when they are more informed about what it is they are doing.
In the same way, sharing data with clients, partners, and prospective consumers is a great way to show everyone what your company is about and how it’s doing as well.
Collecting data is cool and all, but it needs to be put to use
The peer pressure amongst data-driven organizations to race to collect as much data as they can is reminiscent of the Cold War and the arms race that ensued. Don’t be like those world Superpowers. Again, staying focused on the primary mission of your organization is important. Collect the data you need and apply it to help your company accomplish its goal.
Progress > Perfection
Turn the engine over and get churning. Don’t wait. Seek out the data you think you need and begin learning about it right away. Organizing everything into perfect harmony is a nice pipe dream to have, but is unrealistic and can cost an overwhelming amount of time and resources to get “right.” Start with one problem and move on from there. Don’t fall into the waiting game trap.
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