If you’re in business, then you may sometimes feel like you are swimming in data. Numbers abound, and facts are everywhere. You might have difficulty knowing which data to collect and which to let slide, or you could be collecting too much or too little. The following will give you an idea of which data you should focus on so that you can make sure you have what you need without feeling overwhelmed.
One of the first business statistics you need to capture involves sales. Whether your business focuses on products or services, you need to keep track of who is buying what. These days, you can purchase sales tracking software that allows you to see your sales patterns. You can track your inventory, monitor prices and notice customer characteristics.
This data will help you see which products or services are a hit and should be promoted and which are duds that might end up being dropped. It will also assist you in planning your purchases, focusing your marketing and interacting with your customers.
If your business is going to be successful, it must be financially healthy. So your data collection should include financial details. Accounting software can help you here. Be meticulous about recording income and expenses. Do it every day without fail because getting behind in this area could result in disaster. Balance your checkbook, too, and keep close track of your business credit card if you have one.
Your accounting software will offer numerous reports, so make good use of them to track your company’s financial progress. Run reports each month. You could choose income and expense reports and balance sheets, for instance. Track your current assets and liabilities. This will help you determine your spending patterns for the next month.
Keeping track of your customers is important, too. You’ll need to know who is buying your products or scheduling your services. If you collect any personal information from your customers, though, you need to store it securely and use it ethically. You can use the data to plan marketing, for instance, and to reach out to customers in ways they will appreciate. This information can also help you determine which groups of people you might be missing in your marketing efforts. If your customers are mostly older people, you could try something new to reach a younger audience. This could expand your sales over time.
If your business has employees, you’ll need to collect some data about them as well. Much of this will relate to employment issues, and that data should be completely confidential. But you can also collect information about your employees’ skills, talents and interests. If they’re willing to share, this kind of data could help you find the right people to work on upcoming projects and make the most of your employees’ talents. Don’t neglect to collect feedback from your employees either. You might be surprised at the depth of their ideas and suggestions, and these could actually improve your business considerably if you put them into action.
Finally, keep close track of your marketing stats. You’ll want to develop a way to assess the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and strategies. Track visitors on your website, for example. See which pages get the most hits and which get skipped. Update the ones the get skipped, and see if there is any difference in the number of visits. Watch your social media pages, too, and be aware that the more you interact with people online, the more notice your company will receive.
It may be more difficult to track the results of traditional marketing techniques like advertisements, posters and word of mouth, but you can survey your customers to see what has drawn them to your business. This will help you determine which tactics are working and which may need to be dropped from your marketing plan.
Your business needs good data for many reasons, so be sure to collect it and use it well.