While the average local business may have a lot less self-generated data than big players such as Amazon or Google, it doesn’t mean that Big Data is completely off limits. In fact, there are a ton of ways that Big Data is better tailored for small business because they are typically agiler and have the ability to adapt quickly to data-driven insights.
The truth is, data-driven tools are more available and cost-effective than ever, small businesses simply can’t afford to miss out on these business-expanding opportunities.
How exactly does Big Data change small business? Keep reading to find out.
- Early Detection of Emerging Trends
Getting in front of an emerging industry or consumer trend is an advantage that’s true value is difficult to measure. Sifting through records and data sets from the past can give small businesses key insights into the shape of the future market. However, analyzing large volumes of data is laborious and intensive. Big Data gives small business access to the latest applications, software, and even providers who specialize in both small and large business analytics. Integrating Big Data into your business software and decision-making efforts have proven to be an equalizer for smaller businesses that lack the financial resources and staff of their larger rivals.
- Improved Customer Relations
Great customer relationships are the very lifeblood of small businesses. Profiling templates and tools that can help provide businesses with a stronger understanding of their clients and customers is a priceless asset; one that allows the organization to anticipate the changing needs of their consumer base. When it comes to analyzing past and current consumer behavior, Big Data is the key to determining and anticipating future needs. Basing organizational decisions on precise profile readings can be a critical advantage for businesses looking to optimize repeat sales, improve customer satisfaction levels, and improve up-sell transactions.
- Meeting the Competition
Before Big Data, getting familiar with the competition was limited to browsing your competitor’s shops, website, and industry gossip. Some businesses may have found themselves going undercover to find out more about their rivals products and services. In this day in age, you don’t need to leave your desk to explore the competition. Plus, all of the information you gather can be compared to your brand with a few clicks of a button; operations, manufacturing details, branding techniques, customer reviews, etc. Just keep in mind that the competitor can usually find out all of this information about your business as well. Keep one step ahead by staying up to date on Big Data uses and technologies.
- Augmenting Operational Efficiency
Finding more effective ways to reduce overhead and trim business operations is often critical in smaller organizations that are making due with a limited budget. This involves quick access to any aspect of real-time operational information. Reviewing costs and true effectiveness of marketing and operational strategies in real time are just some of the many advantages that data analysis provides small business. Creating more efficient, leaner, and cost-effective operations is a far simpler undertaking for those who have easy access to the right type of information.
- Gathering Customer and Business Insights
Even though small businesses are some of the biggest benefactors of Big Data, local industries have not yet fully tapped into the digital age of business technology. This includes applications that can create tailored metrics for every part of your consumer experience. While companies may hold onto some older customer data resources, some of an organization’s most valuable archives may not be available in digital formats. Businesses are left to wonder how exactly they can make use of all of this older information, and how/where they should start implementing a newer technology. Fortunately, there are a ton of analytic companies whose sole purpose is to assist small business with identifying data-driven insights to solve specific challenges. Expert analysts can help you gather the right type of data, run it through a processing platform, interpret the results, and work with you to understand opportunities for automation, insight, and growth.
- Protection from Cyberattacks
Last but not least, Big Data is one of the most important tools you can use to protect yourself from the risk of a security breach. As a small business, you might be surprised to learn that your chance of a cyber attack is higher than most, approximately 60% of all small businesses are the target of a malware attack. Unfortunately, 90% of businesses that experience a breach do not survive to make it through the year. This isn’t just because of the lawsuits and fines that often accompany a large-scale capture of personal information, but the loss of trust consumers experience in your brand is enough to damage your reputation for a lifetime with the high risk that faces smaller enterprises, it is well worth the cost for a small business to engage with the services of a cybersecurity firm. Cybersecurity experts use high-powered processing to monitor your entire organization’s network. In addition to the observation of abnormal activity patterns, cybersecurity experts can also pinpoint possible vulnerabilities and map out data storage or network changes.
Before the rise of Big Data, the intelligence an organization had on their business was limited. Today that has all changed. Business intelligence is now an organization’s most critical role in maintaining and improving business operations and service offerings. With this shift has risen a multitude of new ways for a business to interact with their customers using powerful Big Data analytics tools. These two components – consumer data and operational metrics – can provide industry changing competitive advantage.
Technology has and will continue to evolve. In order to keep up, small businesses must learn how to engage their customers seamlessly, deliver the right messages at just the right time, and meet their customers in their preferred channel. In the future, customer experience is expected to overtake product and price as a key brand differentiator. Customer footprints are available everywhere they go online, and data is the new name of the game.