‘Data’ is the buzzword in the world of business but what is it? And how can local businesses use it to improve their service? Free and easy to find data is in fact all around us: sales data, customer services logs, social media and large government databases are all valuable data sources.
Let’s take the example of volunteers in a community business. You may have data (e.g. a list) about your volunteers such as their gender, ages and where they live. This could help you figure out a few things about what sort of volunteers you are attracting. Maybe they are all your neighbours and over 60. Data can help you understand who is engaging with your business, and understand who isn’t. In this case, data about your volunteers can inform a strategy to recruit different volunteers. If all your volunteers are your neighbours, then you probably need to promote your business slightly further afield. If they are all over 60, it may be worth trying to recruit younger ones from local universities or on social media.
As Kevin Tully, writing at Smart Data puts it ““Believe it or not, if your company has been operating for a year or more, you likely have a ton of “Big Data” sitting in your company records. If you’ve been keeping track of your sales in a ledger of some sort (excel, QuickBooks, etc.), then you have an excellent set of sales statistics to cross-reference with other information in your tool chest.”
Data can help you make sound decisions based on evidence, rather than relying on one person’s business ‘instinct’. It can help improve the quality of the products or services you offer your local community, inform your marketing strategy, and ultimately create stronger relationships with your customers and local community.
Better still, small businesses are in a great position to utilise big data, as their smaller scale allows them to be agile and act quicker on data driven insights, as well as focus more on specific problems or queries, which bigger businesses simply can’t do.
But the tricky part comes when trying to make sense of it all the data we are sitting on. One of the biggest challenges is where does an organisation start?
That’s where Twine makes things easier for community business. This online platform can help you collect data by sending out surveys to understand local people better, and also collect information about your volunteers. Then all you have to do is enter the numbers, and Twine will make sense of it all. Analysing, measuring and evaluating the data to arm you with the hard facts you need to move on up.