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How to grow your business in 2015?

A new year means new possibilities and with that in mind, what do you think will be the biggest factor in your business growth in 2015? You do want your business to grow don’t you? Of course you do. After all, the old adage is, “a business that isn’t growing is dying.”

So, how can you ensure that your business isn’t dying?

Let’s consider some of the regular questions many business owners ask themselves: Should you focus harder on social media this year? Do I need to change my website? How is my mobile presence? Do I need an app? What do people think of our brand? What is my emailing campaigning doing?

Do you know what all of those questions have in common? The answer is data.

The rise of Sabermetrics

Pop quiz hotshot, what has made one of the most significant changes to the world of sports and team competition as we know it? The answer is data.

Through a combination of technology advances, we have developed the capacity to measure, chart and calculate an absurd amount of relevant statistical data. In the world of sports this has created a whole new perspective on not only how players are considered but also how games are even played.

This is most evident in baseball where pitchers work on specific pitch counts, defenses adjust based on batting tendencies and players are rated on raw scales of value centered around calculated value like ‘wins above replacement’.

Our business world is in the same boat as sports; we have an abundance of data that has massively increased in just the past few years. What that means from a business perspective is that the best way to build your brand and your business is by reviewing and reacting to data.

It’s all about the numbers

These days with the technology we have available to us there should be nothing about your business you can’t figure out by reviewing available data. Think about it:

  • Should you focus harder on social media this year? That is a good question as it will help shape your perspective online marketing campaign for the year. So how do you figure out the answer? Well first you have to get the answer to other questions like:

o   What percentage of your current customers uses social media?

o   What percentage of your core demographic uses social media?

o   What social media accounts do they use?

o   How many conversions did social media create last year?

Do you see how data is the answer to your questions? The answer of whether or not to focus harder on social media should not necessarily be based on an article that tells you that you need to, but instead should be based on a proper review of data about your existing clients and core demographic to see if it would be worth it.

Data should be your number one priority this year if you truly want your business to grow and be successful because with that data you will be able to understand existing customers in great detail, indentify where you are finding them, where you lose business, where customer needs are not being met and so much more.

Wouldn’t it be great to anticipate problems and work on solutions before they turn into huge issues? That is where data comes in.

How can I handle my data?

For many people, data can be overwhelming. There are lots of excuses out there like, “I’m not really a numbers guy,” but in business there are no excuses, just success and failure. Here are some basic steps to getting started:

  1. Determine your data sources – What systems do you have in place that are able to collect data? Your website should be a goldmine of data. Social media sites as well. If you engage in point of sales transactions you have a wealth of knowledge. There is also email marketing, customer surveys or even data brokers that can be tapped. Heck, you can even use Google Trends to learn about top related search terms.
  2. Review your data – This can be hard for some businesses because it takes time, but is there anything more important than learning more about your business? You need to understand everything you can about who your customers are, where they come from, how much each one spends, etc if you want to benefit and enhance your decision-making process.
  3. Determine your questions – What do you want to know? What are the burning questions for your business you need answered before you formulate your next plan of attack.
  4. Figure out what you don’t know – Compare the data you have versus the questions you have and find the gaps. In a perfect world there won’t be any, but unfortunately the world is an imperfect place.
  5. Fill the gaps – Better decision making comes with information so if there is important information you feel you currently are missing you need to figure out how to get it. Review your data sources and see if something is missing that could or should be there. If not, look at what other sources might be available to find the missing pieces of your businesses data puzzle.
  6. Make data-based decisions – In sales and marketing, data is the key to not only refining strategies but also improving them quickly. Sales and marketing data should be constantly measured, studied and analyzed to ensure the best strategies are being used that generates the most engagement and thus sales.
  7. Stick with it – Review data regularly and often and not just for sales and marketing.

Every business can benefit from data in some way. It can make the decision-making process easier for risk management, improving customer targeting, identifying customer needs, analyzing social behavior and so much more.

So there it is; the biggest factor in your business growth in 2015 will be data. The most important step your company can take to improve upon the previous year, which includes learning from mistakes and missed opportunities, is to review and understand the data that is out there and then react to it.



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