“Data”. You hear this word flung about a whole lot when you run a small business. But what actually does the word refer to? Well, data is just another way of saying “information” really. It is a collection of “facts” (such as numbers, words, measurements, observations, and a whole host of other information) that has been translated into a form that can be easily processed by computers. So, your business data is likely to be stored on your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or even mobile device. Now, no matter what your small business specialises in, it’s important to bear in mind that data is changing the landscape that you work in. So, what should you focus on what it comes to handling your business’ data successfully? Well, the first priority on your list should be effectively storing and managing data at the same time as keeping it secure and private. The second is to use it to your business’ advantage! So, let’s take a look through these two major areas of data storage.

Storing Data Safely

Understanding Data Protection

One of your main areas of focus when it comes to storing data safely is data protection law. Data has to be safely and securely stored in order to protect yourself, your employees, and customers. Think how much data you gather from a single transaction with any given customer. When someone purchases something from you online, you gain their full name, their email address, their home address, and their bank details in order to process the payment. Any of this data being leaked could lead to identity theft and cases of fraud that could prove seriously detrimental to your consumers. It could also prove detrimental to you, as you could be prosecuted for leaking data and your company reputation will also be negatively affected. So, you need to ensure that any data you collect is used fairly and lawfully, used for limited and stated purposes, kept for no longer than is necessary, and kept safe and secure. If you stick to all of these rules, you can’t go for wrong!

Recovering Lost Data

Sometimes data can be lost. This is problematic in many ways. After all, not only do you lose the data itself, but you can no longer be sure that it’s protected and safe from individuals who might use it in the wrong way. Unfortunately, sometimes data is entirely irretrievable. However, there are some cases when data can be brought back. Just take a look at tutorials online. Recovering Deleted Items from Outlook 2016 is a brilliant tutorial to recover emails that might have slipped into your deleted folder.

Using Customer Data to Your Advantage

Believe it or not, your small business racks up a whole lot of data from the moment it starts operation. Now, as we have established, “data” spans a whole lot of different areas, from information about people to places, events, and rules. It covers pretty much every aspect of your business’ operation. Now, as the saying goes, with knowledge comes power. So how can you use all of this data to your business’ benefit? Well, this information can give you a deeper understanding of various different parts of your business, which can be used to help move your business forward, making your projects sustainable and profitable. Choosing to ignore the data that you collect, or just letting it go to waste, could result in you missing out on all sorts of opportunities. You’d be setting yourself up for failure! So, let’s take a moment to have a look at how to best put your data to good use!

Understanding the Business Data Process

When it comes to using data to help your business progress, you need to set up a business data process. This should consist of five key steps. First things first, you can use your data to start to understand problems inherent in your business. Take a look at your business goals and use your sales data to figure out whether you are reaching your targets or not. You can use this to then figure out where you are going wrong and what is causing sales to fall short. You can do this by working hand in hand with a data professional who will be able to compare your data with public sources of data and work out how you’re drawing up against your competition. They can then experiment with the results to help you to build and test predictive models. You can then bring these into play if they look good to you!

Analysing Customer Behaviour

Collecting business data concerning customer behavior can give you profound insights into your business operations. It can be used to highlight areas where you’re excelling as well as areas that require a little improvement. However, the most beneficial information you can draw from analyzing customer behavior data is how to market your products and services more effectively and how to improve your business practice for existing customers who are already actively engaging with your brand. It will be able to tell you if your customers tend to visit your web page at certain times or on certain days, you can launch new stock when they’re most likely to be online, boosting exposure. It can also tell you if your customers spend money on certain days of the month. This might be because they’re paid on particular days. Once you’ve gathered this information, you’ll know that these are the days that you should launch new collections, maximizing sales and thus profit. There’s so much potential that can come from examining your web page data and using it logically.

Now, as long as you remember to store all of your data securely and effectively and make use of the data that you have accumulated, things should be plain sailing! Not only will you protect yourself from issues that arise from data protection law, but you can actively move your business forward and get to know the environment you operate in.