Today we’re looking at the most important resource a business can have. It’s not money – money’s not even close to the top of the list. It’s not even expert staff, though assembling the right team around you is vitally important for success. The greatest resource, the one you always need at your fingertips is…data.
Without data any decision you make is little more than guesswork, but the more you have, the more refined and accurate your choices become. As long as you have the skills to turn hard data into insights about what to do next you won’t be overwhelmed, just informed.
Today we’re looking at some of the most important sources of data in the business world and how they can help you take the right decisions.
One of the things it’s most important for you to learn about is your own customer base. You need to know what they’re thinking and feeling, how much money they have to spend right now, what their Christmas plans are.
Market research, whether it’s done by you or in partnership with a market research company gets you this vital information. One of the most important things you can know is what effect your marketing is having; if customers think of you as trustworthy, good value for money, luxurious or whatever values you are trying to project for your customers to latch onto. If your marketing isn’t creating the desired impression you’ll need to course correct quickly before it undermines your business, and rating your business against your rivals with a brand tracker shows you if you’re dominating the market or if you have some way to go – while providing some clues about how to go about it!
As well as learning about the world outside your business, you need a thorough understanding of your own capacity in order to make good decisions. Taking on too much and letting people down is a sure way to undermine your reputation and drive customers away, while providing a high quality, consistent service is an engine for attracting new customers and keeping them.
Too many studies into capacity will annoy your workers – and interfere with their productivity – but a level of monitoring can be built into staff development as part of the cycle of annual appraisals and goal setting, with some automated monitoring in the background showing the rate of basic task completion which means that when you promise something, you know you can deliver!