When I consult with small business owners, there are 3 areas where my guidance generally has the most impact. I call these areas the 3 Pillars of Small Business Analytics.
A competitive landscape analysis will reveal threats and opportunities that generally are not obvious to a business owner who focuses most of his/her energy on running the business itself.
Some of the data points you can capture and analyze include pricing, location, business size, quality, scope of business, diversity of product offering and of course revenue. You would be surprised to find how easy it is to gather all this info.
Knowing where your products and services stack up against your competition is a key to prosperity. To achieve this understanding you need to use analytics.
The second pillar is a Demographic Profile. I have also found that very few small business owners really understand the demographics around their business.
A demographic profile analysis will illustrate how closely your customer base mirrors the actual population around your business. In many cases small businesses are not positioning their services correctly based on the opportunity in their market.
Data to include would be traditional demographic markers like age, race, sex, family status, financial status, economic state, etc. There is a ridiculous amount of data on the internet that can be mined free and easy.
Making sure your business is properly positioned to take advantage of your market will ensure more long term success. The data is out there; you just need to know how to bring it into your analytics process.
The third pillar is Customer Insights. With the boom in social media, most small businesses have not figured out how to capture and analyze all the information being published and shared about their business.
Customer Insight analysis allows a business owner to stay on top of problems and identify how customers feel about their business quickly.
We all know how quickly things can go viral and having a good tool to capture customer sentiment in social media is generally the most overlooked aspect of running a small business.
Positive and negative reviews, trending items, number of likes, follows and shares, are all items that can be rolled into customer insights. You can combine this with surveys, focus groups and loyalty programs among other things to get a full picture of your business.
If you are a small business owner, decision-maker or analyst then focusing on these analytics pillars will make all the difference in the world.
And the best part, is they are all free and easy to bring into your business.