Have you heard of big data? It’s supposed to be the next big thing in business.
It’s not really the next big thing. It’s already here. More than half of all businesses, large and small, are using big data solutions to make big business decisions.
There’s a lot of debate between small businesses as to whether or not they should use big data. The thing is, you can’t afford not to.
Read on to learn how big data can help small businesses grow and how you can use it.
How Do You Define Big Data?
Are you still wondering what big data is? It’s basically a massive amount of data that is collected for a variety of uses.
Law enforcement agencies use big data. They monitor phone calls, have security cameras, and snoop around online. Multiply that by the millions of people they may monitor to thwart potential attacks.
Grocery stores use big data by logging your every purchase to personalize deals and coupons. The healthcare industry uses big data – collecting information from wearable devices and patient records to make better healthcare decisions.
You might not be in any of these industries. There’s a good chance that you have opportunities to collect data on your customers.
Reasons to Use Big Data Solutions in Your Business
You’re a small business, so why would you need to deal with big data? Here are a few reasons why big data can transform your business.
Earn Repeat Business
Do you have a high percentage of customers who try your business once and don’t return? That usually comes down to the customer experience. People who have an extraordinary experience with your business will be sure to return.
Can big data help you deliver a better customer experience? Absolutely.
You can see exactly how a person responds to your email messages, whether they open them, and what’s important to them. Armed with that information, you can use that information to create better offers.
You can also use big data in customer service. When you are able to personalize an experience, customers feel special and will be much more likely to return. You may need to turn to consulting services to make sure your systems are set up to collect the right data.
Lower Employee Turnover
How much do bad hires cost your business? Add up costs of time, recruiting and training costs, a hit to your brand, and unhappy customers. That adds up quickly and can be incredibly high.
You can use big data in your small business to hire the right people the first time. You can create the characteristics of your ideal employee and feed them into an HR program. That will scan resumes to fit the right fit for your company.
Once that person is hired, you can use data to manage them and the relationship they have with their management team.
Privacy Concerns of Big Data
As appealing as big data is, you have to be aware of privacy and security concerns. You worked hard to earn the trust of your customers. You want to make sure you keep that trust because once you lose it, it will be very hard to get back.
There are a few things you can do to keep the trust of your customers. The first thing is to let them know what type of data is being collected and why. This is a good practice to follow that falls in line with Europe’s GDPR regulations.
The second thing you need to do is keep the data secure. You probably don’t have the budget or space for a server room to store the data you collect. You’ll have to rely on third-parties to store the data you collect.
These can be in the form of email or CRM service providers. You have to choose partners that take security as seriously as you do.
How to Read Big Data
There are two parts to implementing big data in your business. The first is collecting data. There are plenty of big data solutions that do that for you. For example, Google Analytics tells you how much traffic your site gets and what people do when they get there.
The other, and crucial part to have big data, is understanding what it all means. Here are some tips that will help you understand and interpret big data.
Know the Questions You’re Trying to Answer
It’s really easy to look through data and dive down a rabbit hole. You’ll get lost and an hour later, you’re still looking at data.
The best way to read data is to know what you’re trying to answer when you start looking. For example, you might want to know what your website’s conversion rate is.
You can take a quick look at Google Analytics to see the traffic to your site. Assuming you have goals set up, you’ll be able to tell what your conversion rate is.
Understand How Assumptions Impact Interpretation
Data is great because it’s a quantifiable look at your business. Data interpretation is still subject to assumptions and biases, though.
For example, you look at your email analytics and find that your latest email has a low open rate. You decide to send it out again with a new subject heading.
You’re working under the assumption that the subject line was the cause of the low open rate. There could have been other factors, like sending it out on a day when no one opens emails or in the middle of the night.
Big Data Solutions to Make Your Small Business Bigger
Big data is already here to help your business do things better. You can deliver a better customer experience. You can hire better people. You can personalize your offers.
All of those things mean that your business will be more profitable. Big data solutions make sense, even for small businesses.
You do want to make sure that you follow the best practices of data privacy and security. That could easily undo all of the hard work you put into your business.
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