Having access to information about competitors and customers can be key to the growth and success of a business. For smaller businesses just starting out, they may not have adequate resources to capture this information — and managers may not know what metrics to look out for. In this article, we explore what big data is and its benefits for small businesses, from tracking sales trends to keeping an eye on competitors.
What is big data?
Big data in the context of small businesses is simply information about people, businesses and the market which can help inform a company’s decisions. Big data can be external or internal to a company, and both can provide useful insights for decision making.
As an example, the data gathered from a business internally can help provide insights for business managers about where things are working, and where they may need to make some adjustments.
How can small businesses use big data?
Small businesses will benefit hugely from recording and tracking data about everything from sales trends to inventory turnover and more. For example, by tracking sales trends over time, businesses can assess which products perform best – and which ones are slower-moving. Moreover, business managers and inventory managers can then make informed decisions about inventory orders.
We suggest downloading inventory software for this purpose, as it will allow you to easily track sales patterns and review historic sales trends. Inventory software will also allow you to easily count and track stock levels so that data about inventory is available at your fingertips. Ensuring information about stock is accurate and up to date is extremely important for the success of a business and, done properly, it can have huge benefits for the productivity of the business. Inventory management software can have great effects on your business overall.
Make the supply chain efficient
Inventory software can also be used to pull data about the business’ supply chain — it can show you how efficient (or otherwise) your supply chain is from start to finish, allowing you to easily make improvements if necessary. A well-functioning supply chain is key to the fast and effective turnaround of products, which helps keep customers happy.
Make informed decisions
Small businesses can also use big data external from their company to gain insights about other similar businesses, and about the market in which they are operating. By tracking the sales trends of a competitor, small businesses can make informed business decisions which take into consideration the many external factors which can influence their own success.
Small businesses can also benefit from keeping track of data about their market in general – how it is performing, whether there has been any lulls or peaks in demand, and how these things may impact their own business decisions. Finally, capturing big data about the local economy, in general, can help small businesses prepare for any economic downturns or moments in time when the economy is performing well so that they can make the most of these opportunities.
For small businesses, using big data as described above to inform business decisions may seem unnecessary initially. However, as a company begins to experience more growth, business managers will find it harder to compete against the bigger, longer-established companies. We suggest small business owners take advantage of the capabilities of inventory software by using it to capture invaluable data.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.