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Small Businesses and Big Data
Even the smallest businesses are learning to take advantage of web analytics today, thanks to the power and ease of use of tools such as Google Analytics, but most businesses don’t realise that there is more to analytics than simply traffic sources and keyword data.
In recent years, big data has evolved from being something that only enterprise-level firms can use to being something that anyone can benefit from. The power of cloud computing and massive data stores mean that previously complex and demanding data-analysis tasks are now within the reach of anyone who wants to use them. Techniques such as A/B testing (with real-time modifications to the test objects) are now easy for anyone to deploy, and information about thousands of interactions can be processed in not just minutes, but milliseconds.
Even if you are a sole trader that does not benefit from big data directly because your client base is small and you rely primarily on word-of-mouth advertising, that doesn’t mean that big data is useless for you. Services that rely heavily on big data analytics, such as maps and even weather forecasts, have a lot of value. Every time you look at reviews on social media or use price-checking tools you are taking advantage of big data. Some sole traders and small businesses, such as private taxi hire companies, will get more use out of this kind of data analysis than others. Imagine being able to look at maps of local events, and then using that to plan where you should go to pick up the most fares. You could even then use traffic-congestion maps to find the best routes.
It is possible to collect data about almost anything today, and with some creative thinking you can use that data to develop your business. The small businesses that use data well today will be well positioned to become big businesses tomorrow.
Doesn’t Have to Be Online
One of the most important lessons that we can learn from big businesses and their use of big data is that you don’t have to limit your analytics activity to online engagements. You can track responses to paper advertisements, phone calls and almost any other interaction with your brand. Analytics can allow you to get to know your customers better so that you can serve them better. Why not broaden your horizons and reap the benefits?