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How data can help you run a successful business in 2021 and beyond

If you’re running your own business, you need to stay ahead of the competition in a rapidly changing environment. Here are a few tips on how data can give you the edge.

Know your customer

Did you know that you're 60-70% likely to sell to an existing customer, compared to the 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new prospect? Keeping your existing customers happy will reduce the risk of them switching suppliers, and help you maintain and increase revenue.

Getting to know your customer may be easier than you think. Something as simple as asking for feedback after a transaction (whether online or in person) can help you gauge customer sentiment and identify areas for improvement. Better still, collect detailed data on how your goods or services are performing. There are lots of things you can do – vary price points, try out different offers, or start a customer loyalty scheme. In each case, collect detailed data on the results, use it to refine your offering and delight your customers.

Attract new customers

Knowing more about your customers can be key to attracting new ones. Do they follow you on social media? If so, you can find out more about their demographic, and use that information to target potential new customers.

Another great way to attract new customers is through referrals. Once you have a happy customer, simply ask them to refer you to a friend. Make this as easy as possible. For example, once an online purchase has been completed, you can present the customer with a social sharing button. If you’re a bricks and mortar business, you can simply offer business cards to happy customers. Again, try different approaches and measure the results wherever possible. Creating a member-get-member scheme with a referral code will enable you to track exactly which customers are recommending you to their friends.

Focus on the end goal

While delivering great customer service is key to survival, you also need to focus on the end goal – making a profit.

One way to increase profit is to streamline your business. Could you run your business more efficiently? You can test how efficient your processes are using a project management tool, such as Streamtime or Trello. First record how much work you and your team are putting into different activities. Then analyse the results to identify which activities deliver the most value in relation to the effort you are putting in. Because Streamtime and Trello are cloud-based tools, you can use this approach even if you have a remote or hybrid workforce.

Automate time-consuming procedures

Another way to make your business more efficient is automate simple and repetitive tasks. This will give your team more time to get creative with new business ideas or focus on customers.

If you’re still manually processing reports, for example, you could be sitting on a huge opportunity to free up your workforce for more productive tasks. Automated marketing platforms – like Salesforce and SharpSpring – can also take a lot of the hard work out of creating marketing campaigns and allow you to easily track and review results, and return on investment.

Embrace digital transformation

Our final piece of advice is to embrace digital transformation if you have not already. Digital technology, such as IoT or a chatbot, can help you deliver a better service, and at the same time, give you more data to work with. Moving to the cloud can make it easier to store and access that data securely – from wherever you are. And data analytics tools can give you powerful insights into your business and your customers’ behaviour.

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to start making data led decisions.

 

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