2022: A year to focus on data collection

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Whichever industry you are in, you will almost certainly have heard about “data” and how is changing our businesses and our world. Data is information collected to be analysed to help decision-making, or information in an electronic form that can be stored and used by a software or computer program.

Importance of data

Data is becoming increasingly important to businesses because decisions are getting complex as companies compete in a global marketplace. To be able to react quickly, entrepreneurs and managers need to understand high volumes of data before they can make the necessary decisions. Collecting it allows businesses to obtain quality information to make informed decisions and provide answers to their problems and challenges.

Why should small businesses collect data?

  • To make informed decisions

Your business decisions should be backed by actual numbers and information about your company performance. Data will let you know exactly what you need to know about your organization. This is the wonder of information; it has great potential if you can access it and use it efficiently.

  • To improve performance

Tracking and analysing helps you to know precisely your organization performance breakdowns and allows you to better understand each part of the process and to identify which steps need to be optimized. Collecting and reviewing data can show you the performance of your team, departments, company, marketing campaigns, customer service, shipping and more. Data really helps you understand and improve business processes so you can reduce wasted time and resources.

In her book Business Efficiency for Dummies, business consultant Marina Martin states, “Inefficiencies cost many companies anywhere from 20-30% of their revenue each year.” If you don’t waste that money, you could use it for promotion, product development or in any other area that requires attention.

  • To generate insights for long-term planning

It can be used to generate reports or studies in order to educate workers or customers on best practices and to develop targeted product guidelines. You can use information to gather market insights for long-term strategies and for more detailed customer insights.

  • To understand consumers and the market

Data is key to understand your customers and market. Without data, you cannot really know what your customers want. How would you know if consumers like your products or if your marketing efforts are right? How would you know your revenue and margins?  PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin pointed out, “The world is now awash in data and we can see consumers in a lot clearer ways.”

How to get data?

The first step is to single out what is relevant for your business, process that is not as simple as you might think. You and your team need to identify issues and/or opportunities for collecting data and to decide what next steps to take. Then you should set up goals and objectives.

The collection process should be connected to the goals set and the overall purpose. The following step will be to establish strategies and methods. You need to decide who will collect the data and identify the logistics, resources, technology and people needed to develop and implement the data collection task. Having a plan in place you won’t waste time and resources collecting unnecessary information. Keep in mind that data collection can only work for your business if you have a strategy on place.

Small business owners can have access to great tools to gather relevant information and insights that can help them to boost productivity. However, if you don’t have the right tools to analyse and understand data, the data collection process will be a waste of time. Having accurate research and examination is paramount to take the necessary steps to get your business off the ground and increase productivity and competitiveness. 

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About the author

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Sandra Melo

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