business analytics
digital tablet and financial report on table

Business analytics isn’t just for big companies anymore. Regardless of your company size or industry, business analytics can make or break you. The emergence of big data provides an opportunity to not just make informed business decisions, but to also get valuable insight regarding whether those decisions were successful.

Why does it work so well? Turns out, relying on educated guesses and conjectures can only take you so far. When you make business decisions based on intuition alone, it can lead to a variety of minor missteps that, when combined, will significantly impact your business’ bottom line- and not in a good way!

You can mitigate common pain points such as misplaced stock, data entry errors, or quantifying marketing ROI by deviating from “how you’ve always done things” and instead embracing the numbers. As you lay a framework for your business analytics, make sure you ask these three questions as an organization:

What’s driving my business?

In order to answer this question, you’ll need to uncover how your products perform in the marketplace, as well as how those drivers align with company strategies and priorities.

What you’ll find out:

  • An important and accurate look into the business dynamics across multiple growth metrics, including profitability, size, revenue, competitive benefit, and customer value
  • Where your greatest growth areas are
  • What decisions could end in failure

Who are my customers, and what are their needs?

As a company, it’s imperative to know who your customers actually are. Are they mostly male or female? What are their needs? What are some previous trends in customer feedback – both positive and negative – that have catalyzed a shift in the way that you run your business? Knowing and being fully aware of this information can dramatically impact how you do business, for the better.

What you’ll find out:

  • Analysis of your customers’ behaviors over time, breaking down sales information by product and customer.
  • Valuable insights into your sales that you may not have been aware of in the past, giving you the ability to close gaps in your sales processes. Every new piece of information encourages growth.

How will it impact my workforce?

27% of businesses surveyed by Harvard Business Review use little or no workforce analytics. Only 12 companies total use predictive modeling to close the gap between company performance and workforce performance. Yet the unanimous opinion between executives interviewed for this report was that “increasing the effectiveness of the workforce was the most important means to improve organizational performance.”

When you employ business analytics, you can get a firmer grasp on the correlation between both factors.

What you’ll learn:

  • The efficiency of processes across all departments. Are employees fumbling around because of your antiquated processes that haven’t held up to company growth? Are these minute errors causing breakdowns across all operations?
  • Employee engagement. A recent Gallup survey concludes that each disengaged company costs a company roughly $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary. That’s a pretty high price to pay, especially considering that the health and vitality of your business very much hinges on employee happiness.
  • How to handle headcount. Especially in the retail industry, business goes through ebbs and flows seasonally. Having the right analysis into sales figures will help you know when you need more hands on deck or when cutbacks are necessary.

By investing in the power of data, you’re taking a major step forward in ensuring that your business processes are as efficient, accurate, and as cost effective as possible. Not only will you have a steady pulse on challenges and opportunities, but you can also focus more energy on doing what you do best– growing your business.

Brian Sutter is the director of marketing at Wasp Barcode, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. Connect with Brian on Twitter at @SmallBizBrian.