Little Data for Small Biz

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We all hear about big data these days, but what about little data?

Every business owner is constantly looking for areas of growth and performance improvement. The data stored by your website or app can be a valuable treasure house of insights, if used properly. These insights can help you discover areas of business growth, opportunities to streamline costs and increase profits.

Here are 5 ways how your business little data can be used to grow your business faster:

1. Signups/Downloads
Signups provide specific data about the quality of traffic your site attracts every month. For mobile/web apps, it can be number of downloads. Viewing Signups by source can tell you where users came across your site and indicate how your marketing efforts are performing. You can see how much traffic each marketing channel brings in and how relevant it is, i.e., how many of them signup. Once you know which channel brings in most signups/downloads, you can assign more resources to it. After all, a Signup/Download is the first step towards a paying customer.

2. Paying Customers
Data about paying customers tells you the kind of users who find value in your product or service. You can know a lot of things about them such as their location, age, industry, etc. just by looking at their attributes in your customer database. This enables you to segment your customers by age, location, etc. and provide more features or products tailored to each segment. You can also offer products which complement the ones used by these customer segments, and manage inventory better. For instance, if you see that most of the customers on your ecommerce site are women aged 25-35, you can probably increase the inventory of women’s footwear and give discounts on them, reduce the inventory of men’s footwear.

3. Revenue channels    
Revenue channels tell you which source of signups brings in how much revenue. Comparing this with the number of paying customers can give you an idea about ROI (Return on Investment) for each channel. For instance, you may discover that both Social Media & SEO brings in similar revenues but Social Media brings in large number of low revenue customers while SEO brings in small number of high revenue customers. So, you can customize your marketing for each channel, based on the type of customers it brings in.

4. Sources of expenditure
One of the most common reasons why businesses have to close is that they run out of money. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor business expenses every month. It is also important to identify all the sources of expenditure, and monitor them regularly. This will help you compare your expenses with those of the previous month. You can also identify areas ripe for cost savings.

5. Products/Features
Every online business stores data about the products sold, who ordered these products and when they purchased it. This can give you valuable insights about customer behavior such as which are the top selling products, what are customer likes and preferences, what day of the week they buy certain type of products, seasonality in purchase trends, etc.
App based businesses store information about feature usage, whenever a person uses the app. This data can be used to find out which feature is widely used, which features are used by what type of customer, features used by top paying customers, etc.

This information can then be used to add new products/features based on customer preferences, increase retention and revenues.

To begin with, you can create a simple dashboard to track these numbers regularly and share it with your team. Monitoring it daily/weekly can show you how you are progressing towards your business objectives, and lead to better business results. As your business grows, you can keep adding more numbers and metrics to it.

Business data contains a lot of useful information about customers, products, revenues, costs, etc. Monitoring it regularly can help you understand how your business is performing; which areas are doing well and can grow faster; which areas are not doing well and need more attention. This will enable you to spot growth opportunities and risks sooner, and respond immediately.
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Sreeram Sreenivasan is the founder of Ubiq, a web-based Dashboard Reporting Application for SMBs. He’s interested in the latest Business Technologies & Trends. Before Ubiq, he has helped Fortune 500 companies in various Consulting & Data Analysis projects.