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Data analysis can allow a small business owner to interpret historical results and analyze how those results might impact future trends. In our recent blog on June 28th, we discussed what business intelligence is and the purpose of data analysis. However, the question remains, how can a small business owner gather data for analysis?
There are three common techniques used in data analysis:
Surveys are the most used technique due to its versatility. These can be in-person surveys taken in public places, telephone surveys, mail surveys, and online surveys.
Personal interviews with customers also generate a great deal of data. The interview generally goes much deeper than the in-person survey, and allows customers to provide honest feedback on a product or service. The interviews can be recorded for future reference, and allow business owners to see ongoing or developing trends in their industry. Because these are more in-depth than a survey, this type of data often proves helpful for minor changes that consumers notice need changing.
Focus groups are like that of the personal interview, except with a group of people rather than separate individuals. This allows for a stronger view of trends across a group of people. Multiple opinions from a wide variety of sources makes for a better idea of what the masses want out of a product or service.
A focus group can also lead to field trials. Field trials or tests yield important data about whether or not to change the packaging, how the product is marketed, and how customers respond to the product when they purchase and use it. This is where the theories are finally tested, and important data is gathered. Common questions or issues addressed in field tests include:
Each small business has its own unique needs and abilities for gathering data. There is no “one size fits all” answer. However, there are some nuances to collecting data that might aid small business owners in deciding what works best for their small business.
At any rate, these methods allow small business owners to get important data about the product or service itself and its usefulness to the customers. These yield important points about where the product or service falls in terms of nearby trends, and where it will go in the future. Businesses are then able to forecast possible profit margins and big or small results from the product or service in question. Businesses are also able to plan for any contingencies and pitfalls that may occur with defective products and/or services, and thus be better able to satisfy the needs of their customers.
Interested in learning more about how your company to analyze data to better market your products or services? Contact us to learn more.