Using big data to grow your small business


analyzing business data

“Big data” has become a big term in the business world. Usually, big data is talked about in terms of big business, but small businesses who neglect to use big data are missing out on a big opportunity. In fact, big data can be a valuable tool in evaluating and growing your small business.

What is big data?

To know how to use big data to your small business’s advantage, you have to first understand what big data is. Big data is a collection of information on consumers based on the touch points they have with technology. Businesses collect data organically from their customers every time the customer visits the business’s website, places an order or swipes a credit card. This collection of “big data” can then be used to guide the business’s decision making and strategy.

How can small businesses use big data?

Your business’s ties to technology mean you are constantly collecting information on your customers. That data you garner from your customers can be used to direct everything from product and service changes to marketing strategy. To put big data to work successfully for your small business, you have to start by segmenting and analyzing the data to learn more about your customers and their behavior.

Analyzing the data you collect from your customers can tell you about your customers’ demographics — how old they are, where they live, where they work and where they work — as well as their spending habits and how they respond to different types of marketing. Big data from your customers can show you what products and services garner the most interest and the most criticism, as well as how often they do business with your company.

When you use big data to understand your customers and their behavior better, you can make better strategic decisions about your business. Understanding your customers’ demographics and behavior can help you to develop products and services that will resonate your customers and potential customers. You can use big data to develop a marketing plan that will be more likely to be seen, and responded to, by your target audience. In short, the more you understand your customers, the better you can adapt your business to suit their needs. And when your business is satisfying your customers needs, you are poised to succeed.

How can small businesses gather big data?

Big businesses put big money into gathering and analyzing big data to better understand their customers. While small business budgets might not be up to using big data on the same scale as big businesses, there are still plenty of opportunities to capture and use big data to grow small businesses. There are many relatively low-cost digital services that will take your business’s raw data and analyze it to create valuable insights.

Most social media sites can be used to gather information on your business’s followers, and you can search hashtags to see how people are mentioning your business across social media. Google Analytics can also provide information on how your website is performing in search results, and your own website data can give you information on how visitors to your site are interacting with the information there. There is no shortage of ways to capture and use big data for your small business; it is just a matter of determining your budget for data analysis and how much time you want to put into collecting and examining data.

If your small business isn’t already using big data to learn more about your customers, you are missing out on an opportunity to better understand your target customer, their behavior and their needs. Taking the time to discover what data you have access to, and how you can use it, can help you to adapt and grow your small business.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Author: Jennifer Nesbitt

Jennifer Nesbitt is a New York-based freelance copywriter. A former journalist and graduate of Penn State University, Jennifer now writes about a variety of topics, including business, technology and marketing. She is passionate about helping companies develop their brands by providing compelling copy that adds value to their online presence.

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