If you are an entrepreneur then you know the importance of speed and agility. It is critical to be able to take a concept, develop it into a product, and bring that product to market as fast as possible so you can get out ahead of the competition. If you fail to do this, then that development time and money will have a much lower return on investment because you will be competing with at least one other product. You could wind up with lower revenue and lose customers to someone else. In this post, we will talk about one way to give yourself an edge: using data. The right data can give you the insight you need to start making a move before anyone else.
The first thing to know about big data is that it is a broad, vague concept. The most common thing for a business to do is collect all kinds of data about their own customers. That includes demographics, purchase history, and other key characteristics. By matching this data to purchase records, you know what kind of people buy your products and can make a guess as to why. In other words, you can determine what different kinds of people have value in your business. That lets you know what you should do next. For example, if you have a rush of new customers using one of your older products for a new use that just became apparent, it might be a good idea to develop a new product that has that new use at its core. This is easiest for software, but it works in any industry. You let your customers tell you why they derive value from your product.
Proper use of data gives you an additional layer of information that your competition lacks. That lets you understand your market better. You will be able to craft exactly the right product the customer wants, because you know that a certain demographic group is in need of a certain service or product and nobody else is filling the gap. In retrospect, the move might seem obvious, but at the time only data could shed light on the story.
There are a lot of tools and platforms for use with data. Hadoop is very popular as an environment because it can handle large datasets better than just about any other software. Real estate workers consult Alpha Theory to understand how to balance their investments and their time. The Alpha Theory toolkit is uniquely suited to the task. The specific software matters less than the idea and the execution. As long as your tools give you the analysis you want, everything else is secondary.
Consider this: the rise of cloud services means even small businesses can afford to collect, store, and analyze big data easily. If you do not tap into this concept to start seeing the market at a deeper level, then someone else will. Then you will be left behind as they, not you, exploit an unfulfilled demand. It all comes down to insight. Having more market intelligence means you can react faster to changes, you can bring new ideas to market that are well-targeted and priced, and you understand the landscape of the future so you know what to expect.
Not all business owners use data and are aware of how useful it can be, but that is no reason to hold back. There are as many creative applications of data as there are creative people with the entrepreneurial spirit. Imagine what kind of information your business would need in order to make your next big strategic decision. Then consider what you would have to do in order to collect that information. This process will inform where you should direct your focus and what to do next. Being able to answer those questions faster than anyone else will set you apart.