In today’s technological age we have access to so much data it can almost be overwhelming. All of this information adds an extra layer of noise and can often be ignored. However, this data is amazing for your business. Knowledge is power. You can use this data to inform your decision making making smarter, better understood and quick decisions for your business.
Where can you access this data? And, what sort of data should you want to collect? What can you do after you have this information?
Have you got a Point of Sale, website, accounting system?
These are all really easy ways of accessing and retrieving information about your business.
The POS will tell you customer purchasing habits, peak service times, sales trends and which employees are your best sellers. Nearly all POS systems, even old systems will have customer reports, sales information and product data. If you have a POS you should be singling out the information you need.
Google analytics is full of powerful information about your customers and your potential customers. Especially if you are selling on your website. It will tell you the traffic sources (where your customers are finding you), how long they stay on a page for, what they are putting in their basket, what photos customers are looking at and even the demographics of your visitor. Savvy social media consultants are tapping into this market and are providing accessible training on how to read your analytics. It’s brilliant information when used correctly.
Lastly, the accounting system. Your financials will give you the quantitative information and with integrated systems it can give you greater detail. The accounting system will provide you with the financial trends and data. It will demonstrate what is and isn’t working for your bottom line.
Other ideas include;
- Industry associations and magazines. Often they have benchmark data that you can use.
- Australian Taxation Office also releases benchmark information and other data relevant to your industry.
- Customer surveys. This can be done after a purchase has been completed on your web page, use free tools such as survey monkey or even just capturing a post code once the sale is made will give you a key idea of where your demographic lives.
- Social analytics. Instagram, Facebook and Linked In let you know really interesting insights. Instagram tells you when your audience is watching and what is the peak time to post and even what they are actually looking at.
- Customer Relationship Management. Sales funnels, sales trends, customer profiles. This data allows you to narrow and specifically target your sales campaigns.
- Loyalty programs / reward points. Who actually uses the points and what do they buy them on?
You need to consider about what type of information you want to gather. It should ideally link back to your KPI’s, strategic plan and management goals. This data you have collected allows you to measure how you are tracking in your business. You may use the data to examine entering a new market space or perhaps you will use it to determine a change to your existing product mix.
Your accountant or business partner is an invaluable asset to help you navigate the options and to analyse and identify the key trends that emerge from that data. They can help you customise a unique dashboard, they can provide worthwhile management reports to give you trend information and together partner with you to determine the next steps for your business.