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A common misconception about big data is that it is too big for small businesses, and so small businesses might have a hard time taking advantage of it and using it to their benefit. This is not true. While smaller businesses collect less data than bigger businesses, they can still use this relatively small amount of data in various ways. Also, small businesses are better suited for big data because the small amount of data they collect is easy to analyse and the insights gleaned from this data can be acted upon faster in a small business setting. Let us look at some ways small businesses can make the most out of big data.

Identifying Trends

Trends are seasonal, with businesses experiencing fluctuating seasons of high and low demands as trends come and go. Identifying behaviors and patterns in consumers are critical to predicting where trends are headed and can help businesses identify how the demand for their products and services will change and what will prompt these changes.

In the past, businesses used a lot of guesswork to predict these trends. Some market analysis also played a part in how businesses responded to changes in trends and the demand for their products and services. Now, big data has removed all the guesswork from this process.

Businesses can now collect trend data from various sources, notably social media platforms. This has made it easier for businesses to collect the data that tells them what people want or what they will likely want in the future. In online and retail commerce, businesses are now able to drill down and measure customer behavior to levels that were not possible in the past.

All the data collected on consumer behavior can then be collated and compared with other data such as the time of year and weather, to predict what people are likely to buy and when.

Checking Out the Competition

A business that does not keep an eye on its competition is likely to be left behind. This is why businesses have for a long time used tactics such as looking through competitor websites and shops, or even posing as customers to better understand their competition. Big data has rendered all of this moot, as businesses can now collect all the data they need about their competition for various sources.

For example, businesses can use Google Trends to understand how popular a competitor or the competitor’s goods and services are. Social media can be used to find out how many times a business is mentioned, which is a great reflection on how popular a business is at a specific time. Comparisons about mentions, engagement, and more can also be done directly on platforms like Twitter.

The one thing businesses must remember is that their competition can also access the same data about them. The best thing to do is use this data to stay ahead before the competition does the same to you.

Understanding Customers

Big data is taking the guesswork out of understanding a business’s customers and helping businesses get a clearer and fuller picture of what makes their customers tick. Businesses can also understand different customer motivations for actions such as why they buy certain products, how they shop, why they switch from one product to another, what they are likely to buy next, and whether they are likely to recommend the business to others.

Businesses also use customer data to better interact with their customers and ensure customer satisfaction. This is done mainly through analysing customer feedback. Social media has helped a lot with this as businesses can collect data about customer feedback without engaging the customer at all. They can also find niche markets and opportunities by checking customer sentiment online.

Businesses now collect more data on their customers than ever before. Because of this, they need qualified and skilled data scientists to help them organise and analyse this data. To take advantage of the demand for data scientists in today’s world, you can complete a masters in computer science program at Wilfrid Laurier University. A master’s degree is an indication of advanced skills and an indication that you would be an asset to businesses that need data scientists to help them with their big data endeavors.

Tweaking Business Models

Businesses that do not change or adapt do not usually last for long. This is why the most successful businesses are always tweaking their business models. This can be done to improve revenues, attract new customers, or even find new products and services that can be introduced to the market.

By leveraging big data, small businesses have a lot of opportunities to monetise the data they have, not by selling it, but by using it to generate revenue through value addition or the development of new products and services.

Recruiting and Managing Hires

Data has become an important tool for identifying the best candidates before and during the interview process. Data can also help businesses find the best recruitment channels or simply tweak the ones they already use so they produce better results (candidates). Data can also be used by human resource departments to help with employee management. Many HR departments already have a huge amount of data on their employees. This data can be used in various ways, including deciding which employees would work better in specific positions or departments.

Reducing Costs

Efficiency is very important for small businesses that want to keep their costs as low as possible. Using big data, businesses can easily gather information on inefficiencies in business processes, systems, and practices. This can include identifying software and processes leading to bottlenecks or products that are currently inventoried and that customers are no longer interested in.

Big data, analytics, and visualisation are a must for any modern business. Small companies can use all the data they collect to tweak their operations, hire better talent, and a lot more. To ensure they are not left behind, all small businesses should have a big data strategy that helps them identify opportunities and reduce inefficiencies.

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