Businesses are capturing more information than ever before. The most successful firms are analysing that information and are focused on building their strategy around customer and market data.
Data management strategy
To create a data-driven business, you need to have a data management strategy. This needs to start with your culture and people. You need to encourage the right behaviour’s among your staff. It might help to create a training programme, which ensures your people are capturing data properly, on the right systems and in a way that allows your business to gain useful insights from that data.
There is no point in capturing data if you can’t analyse it. Your business needs to manage data well and it needs to value data analytics. Don’t jump straight into rolling out software and technology. Take the time to define the needs of the business and build your analytics systems around that. Define what you need to know in order to drive sales, increase profitability or retain existing clients. Then feed these questions into your data analytics strategy.
Your analytics should seek to provide answers to these questions in order to add value to your business.
Now that your people and systems are in place, your business will be in a better position to collect data, analyse it and use the outputs to improve company performance with data driven insights.
Look for opportunities to use data
Unless you have data, you are just another person with an opinion. Look out for ways to use data to improve your business. Use customer data to improve your business development and marketing efforts. You can use data to reduce costs or to manage your supply chain more efficiently. You can even use data driven insights to help improve cash-flow by improving your debtor days and cash management across your business.
Remember, most businesses (and therefore, most of your competitors) are not very good at managing their data. If you can capture, analyse and utilise data throughout your business more effectively than they can, you will have a significant competitive advantage
So what next?
At a recent accelerator Club we looked at the various apps, that are available, which can help capture useful data and also make better analysis of data within your accounting systems.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help in data capture. Where are your customers coming from? How did they find out about you? How can you be more effective at reaching out?
One product we looked at was ActiveCampaign, which has various options that look at how potential customers look at your website. For example, is there something that is stopping people proceeding further. It can provide an analysis of how many people didn’t complete those shopping basket purchases amongst other things.
MethodCRM is another similar product which is optimised for Quickbooks online. Are you keeping a running track of those potential orders?
And once the data is in your accounting system you can analyse it further using a product called Futrili. With reports not just on the usual financial summaries but also key performance indicators. It also has cash flow and budgeting features.
Making accounting digital is giving many small businesses access to the tools and knowhow previously only available to much larger enterprises and at an affordable price.