If your company can successfully capture and use relevant data, then it can have a dramatic positive impact on your business. In fact, companies that use data analytics effectively experience a 40 percent growth in sales pipelines, and a 22 percent year over year increase in operating cash flow.
However, even though capturing and using data effectively can be extremely beneficial, many businesses fail to do this correctly, or completely fail to do it at all. But, if you are interested in growing your company and reaching higher levels of revenue, then you need to be able to get the most out of your key data.
Here are some great things you can do to capture relevant data...
Use a CRM to track key business details and transition cycles.
A customer relationship management (CRM) can provide you with an enormous amount of relevant data for your business. Our top choices for most small and midsize companies are Hubspot and Salesforce. A CRM is a great way to track key sales data as well as ongoing data once a prospect becomes a customer. This data includes customer demographics, time clients spend on your website, insights about call to close ratios, industries, client size, geography, etc. so that you can focus your sales and marketing efforts more effectively as a small business.
Use a financial program like Quickbooks or Xero to hold better financials
Quickbooks and Xero are both accounting software programs that can help to provide your small business with heaps of beneficial financial data. These programs can help you track payments, manage/pay bills, and help you keep your payroll organized. When used at the point of sale, they can also help you to track inventory information, customer information, and provide reports for managing and serving your customers.
Use a payroll and timekeeping service to track data related to employees and contractors
Payroll and timekeeping services allow you to have much greater insight into your payroll costs. These services allow you to keep track of employee work hours, overtime costs, absenteeism, paid time off requests, schedule deviations, and a number of other key things. If you are looking for a way to track data about your own workforce, then payroll and timekeeping services are an excellent way to do so.
Restaurants and Retailers, use a point of sale
With point of sale software, retailers can track inventory, sales, product appetite and "cart share", key customer information, and other points related to transaction based items. Point of sale software is extremely beneficial for retailers because it allows them to keep their inventory more organized and learn key information about their sales and customers and many have the option for employees to clock in and out from the point of sale. Companies like Shopify have made it simple for new businesses to setup their retail or online store and scale with ease as the business grows.
Construction industry – use project management software
Project management software helps construction companies to automate administration tasks, simplify estimating and billing, manage workload and assignments, organize document management, and streamline communication. Companies like Procore highly beneficial data for construction companies.
Wholesale and Manufacturing - inventory and order management and software
Being able to accurately time, track and manage inventory and orders is especially important for wholesalers and manufacturers. This is because wholesalers and manufacturers often deal with extremely large amounts of products and parts which need to come in and move out of the warehouse timely for business to keep flowing. So, inventory management software makes it much easier to keep these vast amounts of items organized. Inventory management software easily generates key data about inventory, where raw materials are in process, as well as what has been used based on current and upcoming orders. This makes re-ordering more effective and helps manage cashflow better than estimating when reorders are necessary. Companies like Fishbowl and Netsuite have developed great inventory management software for small and midsize companies.
Putting things into perspective
Roughly fifty percent of new businesses will fail within the first four years. This means that small business owners need to have access to any tool which can help them to be more competitive in order to survive the first four years of operation. Software programs which help to capture key data are tools that are essential for small business owners to have if they want to give themselves the best chance of success.
All of the tools and software programs listed above can help small business owners to capture relevant data which can be used to generate key insights that can help with pivotal business decisions. Oftentimes, the ability to make decisions fast and accurately can determine whether or not a business succeeds or fails. For example, if a small retail business owner orders a large shipment of a product without analyzing his inventory to determine if such an order is warranted, it could result in a major loss if that inventory fails to sell or if there is no cash on hand for payroll or emergencies.
However, even though capturing relevant data is extremely beneficial for small business owners, to get the most out of this data, you need to be able to drive it to a central location to analyze it. When it is in a central location, it is much easier to see all of the key insights across all data sets. It is the seemingly unrelated connections that deliver insights to help businesses understand what their competitors don't and keep a competitive edge.
So, as a business owner, you should focus on both capturing relevant data, and driving this data to a central location. It is only by doing both of these things that you will be able to get the most out of your data.