A question frequently asked by small businesses and beginner startups is: how can a business with little to no data begin to measure their way to success? Large businesses with established clients are able to leverage their amassed data to become even larger, but what about the companies who haven't gotten their foot in the door yet? If you're the CEO of a startup trying to find the answer to these questions, this article might help you out.
1. Get To Know the Industry
One of the best applications of data when you have none of your own is to use it to get to know your industry. Most people in your position start by wondering how to do market research for a startup, because market research is just another term for using data to outsmart the competition. "Big Data", a term you may have heard before, is how we label the large amounts of free, publicly available data for pretty much every market. Companies post their quarterly reports, trends are indicated, and much more. Essentially, for the purpose of getting to know your industry, there's more information than you could ever need.
In order to utilize this data, however, you have to find an effective way of gathering it. If you're tech savvy, maybe creating an algorithm using Machine Learning that can, over time, learn what kinds of data you want stored and where. This approach can end up costing a bit of money once you go down the rabbit hole of computing services, but may be worth the cost if you want the benefit of seeing your industry at a glance.
2. Get to Know the Competition
Similarly, you can use Big Data to find out who your real competitors are and find ways to outperform them. This relevant data can be found by analyzing comments and reviews on their website, perusing their social media, and getting to know what products are offered (and finding out why). This may sound like detective work, but it's really only the basics of doing market research. Doing this level of research will help you to see where your competition is falling short of market needs, or to avoid making the same mistakes they have made by employing the same kind of algorithm you used to analyze the industry.
3. Get to Know the Customer
Your top concern as a startup is always going to be the customer. You'll be relying on customer loyalty to keep your business afloat during the tumultuous first years before you find secure footing. Therefore, it's vitally important that you get to know who your customers are and have reliable ways of knowing what they need. Winning brand loyalty can be as simple as offering VIP exclusive deals and coupons, but this is only half of the challenge.
Big data can help you get to know your customers by using tracking software to analyze their shopping patterns and habits. Targeted ads and coupons can then be used to draw in these specific customers based on their past actions. Being able to predict a customer's needs, fulfil the need, and then exceed expectations along the way is the key to winning new customers and establishing a loyal base. This is how big data will help your startup get off the ground running, and be able to outrun the competition in no time. Acquiring new customers and doing market research can be expensive processes within any industry.
Large companies can afford business costs for the benefits that they bring, but a startup rarely has the revenue to spend on these aspects of business. That's why neglecting big data as you start your business can only cost more in the long run. Having such vital information at your fingertips will make it easy to leap ahead of other startups, struggling along with their lack of personal business data, and make the path to success a lot clearer.