Knowledge is power. In business, it's the power to make better-informed decisions.
COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in businesses worldwide – a trend we now expect will continue. With technology comes an increased volume of data. The challenge for businesses is distilling data into meaningful insights that help guide management decisions, drive efficiency, and give a sharp overview of how a company is tracking over time.
Modern businesses are implementing data-driven decisions and strategies – ignoring hunches and looking to technology such as business applications (apps) to provide the insights that help drive business forward.
Harnessing real-time data has several advantages; for one, it gives business owners the ability to make savvy decisions based on relevant, timely information. Read alongside historical data – be that for the previous day, week, month or year – you can track performance, identify and compare trends, evaluate what works, make projections, and develop strategic business plans. Apps put this data at your fingertips.
With different apps supporting various elements of your business, you get a 360-view of your performance. From point-of-sale apps such as Vend that give you an online storefront, as well as in-built payment and reporting options, to Expensify, a nifty app that manages expenses, transactions, and money matters.
Data-driven organizations make better strategic decisions, enjoy high operational efficiency, improved customer satisfaction and robust profit and revenue levels. According to an article in Towards Data Science, businesses that listen to the data are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain those customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable as a result!
Data and analytics are vital to reducing inefficiency and streamlining business operations. Using reporting and analytical dashboards to identify data trends provides managers with the insights they need to monitor cash flow, accurately assess sales performance, and benchmark.
Avoid getting bogged down by overwhelming volumes of data; identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are closely associated with your business goals. Set realistic targets for yourself, then use your data to inform strategies that steer your business towards those goals. And don't worry, you're not alone. Technology can help you collate and translate your data into actionable insights. For example, 9Spokes aggregates data across your business, your apps and your banks to deliver meaningful insights you can put to work.
Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic and is a vital decision-making resource for any business with an online presence. Google Analytics provides information on user demographics, behavior flows and cohort analysis, and generates reports that help you to analyze, benchmark and take informed actions.
Google Analytics features include:
Segments: a function that groups users and provides a view of how users interact with a website. View segments such as direct traffic, bounce rate, new users, or use customized segments to track users who hit different benchmarks in your sales funnel.
Goals: specific actions that you want website visitors to complete. Define goals on Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Intelligence events: send alerts when there are surges or dips in traffic, increased bounce rates, or higher levels of page views. Also works with goals, notifying you when you achieve one.
Traffic trends: allow users to compare traffic from different periods to understand website performance and user engagement.
Social media: monitor social media through Google Analytics to see which platforms drive traffic to your website, then track subsequent behavior on your site. The analytics tool tracks visitors who immediately convert, but also those who return later to make a purchase.
'The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics in 2020', published by HubSpot, is a useful starting point for those looking to harness the power of Google's analytics tool.
Analysis of your business' data can highlight trends that may otherwise go under the radar. It can also flag potential issues such as increasing churn rate – the rate at which customers stop doing business – so that you can take the appropriate action fast.
By gathering data from multiple sources across your business, you're better able to track cash flow, credit capacity, operational risk and even asset-liability risk. Ultimately, it helps you to assess how you're performing financially, ensure sustainability, and highlight concerns before they become issues.
This information helps reduce risk. For example, if you're thinking of expanding your premises, you can assess what your projected business growth can support, whether you have the cash flow to facilitate a site extension, or the capacity to recruit new talent.
Data is knowledge is the power to make the business decisions that help you to drive your business forward. Technology is an additional resource that can help you to make the right decisions along the way.
We're still waking up to the impacts of COVID-19. Businesses are navigating economic uncertainty and changing customer behaviors. We focus on the hospitality sector and building financial resilience.
COVID-19 has changed the way we do business and how people engage with businesses. While high street footfall has dropped, the online market is flourishing. Is it time to move your business online?