Big Data: Hype Or Hyper Important?

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 21, 2016 at 8:02 am

Business is all about asking the right questions and pursuing the right projects. But without evidence, most entrepreneurs are running blind. The good news is that the world is generating more data than ever before. Big data and its associated analytics are churning out trillions of data points. So many data, in fact, that the world’s servers crunch the equivalent of a stack of books stretching to the nearest star.

Big data is going to change the way that we do business. It’s a way of drilling down into the essence of what it is they do and finding meaning. It’s about bringing multiple platforms together in a way that can be easily interpreted and acted upon. And it’s about uncovering data that is biased or potentially misleading.


As big data analytics develop, businesses are finding new applications and ways to use the technology. For instance, one critical application right now is in Formula One cars. Teams are using driver data to find ways to make their drivers and cars safer. Data from vehicles can be utilized by the teams in real time. It can then be shared and used to make decisions throughout the race. Systems can be monitored and data collected to predict imminent failure. It’s all about finding the warning signs and doing something about it before additional costs are incurred.

The drivers themselves have access to all the data themselves from their steering wheels. They’re able to make adjustments in real time, depending on the data they are fed. Each driver gets a 10 point menu, giving overviews of their systems, allowing them to make smart choices.

The Formula One example is an extreme example. Obviously, it is very different to a typical small business operation. But it emphasizes some important principles. Namely, that companies can use data to make better decisions and gain competitive advantage. The more data a business can leverage, the more competitive it will be.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that businesses can up their competitiveness using big data.

Proving Value Of Information Technology In Business

Most businesses track the costs of their IT systems – that’s easy. But far fewer measure the results with any kind of accuracy. It would be nice to know the precise ROI from different IT investments so that decisions regarding IT can be made in the future.

Small businesses are forever wondering whether they should invest more in their IT or cloud platforms. But they rarely have the data to do so. That is, of course, unless they’re leveraging big data.

Big data is now key to many budding small businesses and the way they approach new investment opportunities. They want to know whether their IT projects are delivering measurable results. And they want to make sure that they are not just being carried along by a wave of hype.

In the past, most IT costing was done on the basis of how much it costs to run a computer or cool a server. Businesses would work out how much the server space cost, or how much floor space had to be dedicated to their IT. But today, the nature of IT has changed. Because of the cloud, small business IT is often distributed across multiple sites. And these sites all have different costs structures and ROI.

Companies, like Allerin, are trying to make sense of all this data. The idea is to find ways to improve the ability of businesses to collect data on their IT performance. Data can be collected from multiple sites, crunched, and then analyzed. The analysis should reveal whether the IT investments are worthwhile or not. The ultimate goal is to place a financial value on the additional efficiency delivered by IT projects. It’s about figuring out how much time a new system saves, in monetary terms. And it’s about working out whether new systems are driving new customers to the business – like apps, for example.

Five years ago, the software simply did not exist to provide these kinds of answers. There weren’t solutions that could bring all the data companies were generating together. If you wanted to do a study yourself, you had to use generic, technical statistics apps. But today, that’s all changed. Data analysis has moved on considerably and become a lot friendlier to small businesses. New tools allow companies to assess whether they are making the right decisions with regards to their IT. They’re able to assess their productivity in real time and develop action plans, based solely on the data they collect.

Big Data And The Importance Of Analytics

When it comes to expanding their businesses, small businesses live in the data dark ages. They rarely have any concrete information about whether a new business expansion will pay off.


Take the example of a company that wants to launch a new marketing campaign in a new area. Clearly, the company will want to know what the sales penetration will be and the ROI on that investment. Without data, it’s practically impossible to predict the effect. But with big data, the business can make informed decisions, based on similar campaigns. It can take data from past campaigns with similar demographics. And it can then use those data to predict the outcome of a similar campaign in a similar geography. Businesses that use big data are no longer blind. Instead, they become informed and can make decisions that don’t just rely on instinct.

These big data applications are critical for working out which locations offer the greatest return. Two regions might have dozens of different characteristics. But both might seem like a great place to open a new location. Big data allows small businesses to choose the site that has the best chance of profitability.

The cool thing about big data is that with the right data, information becomes granular. Small businesses don’t just get information on total profitability. They’re able to ask questions like, how many new sales will I make by increasing my advertising budget by 1 percent? This allows small businesses to optimize their limited budgets – something that they were unable to do before.

Finally, data is also being used to improve the customer experience in a way never before possible. Small businesses are able to collect and aggregate customer information. And then they are able to predict their needs, based on the needs of similar customers. Just think how useful this is for things like product selection and advertising. Big data allows your business’s advertisements to be far more targeted to a particular group. By targeting customers in the right way, big data could allow you to increase your conversion percentage dramatically.

Data could also tell you things about the behavioral preferences of your customers. Do they want to be marketed to in the evenings? Do they prefer banner ads? Do they like your content? And how do different customers respond to different methods of marketing?

So How Do You Do Big Data?

Big data isn’t something that most small businesses are going to be able to do themselves. Like so many other things in business, it’s something to outsource.

The best solutions help to get businesses and IT working together as one, with common goals. With big data, the direction that IT should take is clear. Without it, people are running blind. At it’s best, big data should be able to avoid many of the disastrous pitfalls associated with installing new systems. Big data is a tool to avoid losing time, money and effort so often wasted when IT doesn’t match up to business goals.

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All You Need To Know About Staying Connected To Your Customers

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 20, 2016 at 10:29 am

Small business owners will spend ages looking for advice. When you start a new business venture, you want to ensure everything is handled properly. Doing things by the book will help guarantee your company some form of success. The problem is, too many new business owners get caught up in all the advice out there. They read about certain things and become obsessed with them. Typically, all of this advice revolves around business practices. Things like how to market a small business and how to increase sales? A lot of the advice out there tends to neglect one of the most important parts of business, your customers.


Let me break it down for you, if a business has no customers, there’s no point in its existence. No money will be made, and the company will shut down, fast. On a basic level, you need to figure out how to bring customers to your business. But, things can be more complex than that. Once you have customers or clients, you need to keep them coming back for more. Often, this is what a lot of businesses fail to do.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by staying connected with your customers/clients. If you’re connected to someone, it’s a lot easier to keep them close and pull them back in. Think of it as having ropes connecting your small business and customers. If someone is attached to a rope, you can reel them in with ease. Connectivity is especially important in this digital age. There are so many ways you can stay connected with all of your customers. As a result, you can build up a loyal customer base very quickly.

Now, at this point in the article, you’re probably wondering how you can stay connected with your customers. Well, allow me to demonstrate with these following points:


Use The Cloud

The cloud has become a revolutionary tool for everyone involved in business proceedings. In general, your small business should already be using cloud storage to backup data. But, I’m talking about a different use for this point. With the cloud, you can find many companies that allow you to create a customer or client portal. This is a place where you can upload and share documents with specific clients/customers. It also allows you to collaborate with them, and work together on a project. This is a fantastic way to stay connected with your customers and clients. You’ve created a portal where they can go and work as one with you. Or, you can share unique files that no one else gets to see. Any type of business can make good use of this to stay connected. One genius idea is to use this portal to upload discount vouchers, etc. Then, you ask your customers for their email and send them the special link to access the portal. They can then go on there and download the codes/print them out. It’s a great way of giving back to your loyal customers, and keeping them close by. The observant readers will also notice another major benefit too. By gaining access to your file sharing portal, your customers need to supply an email. So, now you have their email address, which keeps you further connected with them.


Social Media

Social media is a phenomenal tool for small businesses. It should form a key part of every marketing strategy. The great thing about social media is that it lets you connect with everyone, effortlessly. The whole premise of social media platforms is to keep the world connected. Facebook was designed to help you connect with friends and family all over the world. Instagram was designed to let people connect via images and visual content. Every platform has a firm emphasis on connectivity with others. This is evident in the fact that you have followers. As a business, you want all of your customers to follow you. If they do, then they can stay in touch with you at all times. They’ll see any updates and content that you post via social media. This means they’re the first to know about things. Without social media, it would be much harder to stay connected with all your customers. My advice is to ensure you have links to your accounts wherever possible. On your website, you can install social media icons that people can click on and it takes them to the relevant page. In any emails, you send you can include links to your social media too. I’d even go as far as to use QR codes on any print adverts you have. People can scan them with their phone, and get taken to your social media account. With any professional customers/clients, LinkedIN is the best social media platform to use. It allows you to stay connected with them in a more professional manner. But, for the general public, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the best.


Attend Events

There’s more to connectivity than using digital techniques. Attending business events is a fantastic way to stay connected to your customers. Why? Because it gives you a chance to be more personal with them. There’s a chance you won’t meet a lot of your customers face-to-face. Especially if your business operates online. So, appearing at an event can make your business seem more friendly and human. Plus, it’s a great way to showcase new products and generate new leads. While at an event, you can speak to customers face-to-face and talk to them about your business. You could even get more contact details, which helps you stay connected in the future. A brilliant way of improving your relationship with your customers.

The final line of that paragraph sums up the point of this article very well. Staying connected to your customers will help improve your relationship with them. People like it when a business treats them well, and connects with them. You want to keep all of your clients/customers as close to your company as possible. With loyal customers, you see plenty of future benefits. Their loyalty helps increase sales, and they can also help bring in new customers through reviews, etc.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Effective Strategies For Making Your Business Run Faster

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on October 20, 2016 at 9:03 am


When it comes to running a company, time is of the essence. You’ll want to get important tasks completed in a time-efficient manner, without sacrificing quality. You need all operations to run smoothly, employees to be productive, and machines to work fast. Overall, you just want your business to run faster.

The faster you get things done, the more time you have to spare. The more time you have to spare, the more you can use it on growing your business. Speed can often be the key to success. Here are some simple yet effective strategies which will improve the speed of your business operations.

Use Fast Technology

Technology is employed in all aspects of the workplace nowadays, so make sure yours works fast.

Start with your computers. You’ll want machines that let your workers complete their tasks with speed and ease. You can get Windows machines with great processors and memory capabilities. You might also want to consider Macs, which are known for being efficient. Either way, it’s worth spending more on fast machines.

You’ll also want the best internet connection. Find an ISP with constant uptime and fast speeds. It will ensure your company will always be able to get its work done. You may also want to use innovative technology for speed. For instance, many businesses now use a cloud load balancer. It helps your employees load all data and cloud programs fast. They can get work done faster this way.

Machines are only as smart as the people who use them. But faster machines will ensure that your workers can get their work done with haste. It’s the first step to making your business run faster.

Keep Your Workforce Motivated

If you want your employees to work fast, then make sure to keep them motivated. There are many ways to do this. You may want to offer incentives for getting work done. For instance, those who get bonuses based on commissions will often complete more work.

Hiring more people can often help. Employees who feel overworked will often be less productive. Having more people and sharing the work out can make everyone a little faster.

If some of your departments aren’t efficient enough, you may want to outsource the jobs. External services can handle things like marketing, web design, and accounting. Since they get paid to do handle these tasks efficiently, they’ll get the job done as fast as you need it.

Automate Tasks

One of the simplest ways to improve speed in your business is to automate tasks. The use of software can often help with this. By having some tasks done automatically, you’ll have more time to handle other activities.

Stores who sell online can often automate the whole job. There’s shopping cart software to let customers order goods. You can take automatic payments and send out automated confirmation emails. If you use a delivery fulfilment service as well, the whole operation practically handles itself.

There are many everyday business tasks you can automate, too. For instance, there’s plenty of ways to pre-schedule social media posts. The more you handle money online, the more you can automate your accounting. The more things you manage automatically, the faster your business will run.

This post may contain affiliate links.