The great thing about small businesses is their intimate appeal and unique nature. Without the little guys, the business world and the products and services it delivers would be homogenized and dull.
But enterprises are constantly looking at ways to dominate the market. One of those ways is through analyzing and monetizing the huge amounts of data generated by consumers. This may seem like the exclusive realm of data scientists and billion-dollar industry. It’s not. Now, because of advanced technology, your small business can use big data to its advantage.
There are really two ways of looking at mining data. You can take the spreadsheets, the files of past data, and study them for trends. And, you can analyze data as they come in.
What are you doing this for? In order to integrate customer data into your business decisions. It’s an iterative process, which mean it’s ongoing, evolving with the customer. Software such as Net Promoter’s Satmetrix uses the continuum of data to predict customer decisions. It culls the data related to customer satisfaction and loyalty, using patterns to make predictions. You can then use these predictions to determine things like inventory needs, marketing tactics, product modifications, staffing, etc.
This is a form of listening. It’s a kind of conversation. Small businesses can be more flexible and agile than enterprises, which makes them well-equipped to adapt to what they hear. But in order for the conversation to be effective, you need to know what problem(s) you’re trying to solve.
A problem you may come up against is in managing your supply chain. On one end, there’s the relationship you have with your suppliers. Square’s guide on how to manage suppliers recommends being efficient, using tools to organize and automate data related to supply. That way, the relationship with suppliers is frictionless. Inventory management software can help you keep track of inventory data and even automate orders.
You may spend more time thinking about supply than you actually need to. Analytics software allows you to think ahead, predicting when there will be a spike in demand. This frees up your mind for more high-level decision-making.
Customer-facing, there’s the matter of optimizing sales based on demand. In North Carolina, Twiddy & Company Realtors had a lot of operational data involving vacation rentals, but didn’t know what to do with the data. They needed to be able to optimize the rental process for both the homeowners and the renters.
Twiddy & Company decided to try business analytics tools from SAS. The tools processed rental data, analyzing it for trends and delivering insights. Through this, the realtors can now give homeowners pricing recommendations based on a variety of variables. Everything from time of year, size and location of the home, market conditions—all these factors and more come into play in determining price.
It may seem like this benefits the homeowners more than the vacationers.