How To Use Data To Scale Your Business Quickly And Reliably In 2021 – Forbes

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While 2020 has been a doozy of a year to say the least, we are officially into 2021. A new year means new opportunities and hope for better outcomes — for you and your business.

You may have set your 2021 business goals, but have you looked at the tools and resources needed to make scalable growth a reality? One of the best ways to accomplish growth is through your data. With proper use of data, you can accelerate your growth and chart a course for lasting success.

Improve Productivity

Internal processes are often part of what keeps businesses from scaling successfully. Whether it’s faulty internal processes or that you don’t have enough employees, data can help you identify practices that are keeping you from achieving your growth goals.

As entrepreneur Aimee Tariq explains, “E-commerce brands go through a wide range of back-end processes to deliver their products to customers. From stocking a warehouse to tracking shipments, each of these separate activities represents an additional data point — and a potential bottleneck. By tracking each stage of the selling process and all customer interactions (particularly complaints), you can gain a better view of the inefficiencies that are keeping your service from being as good as it should be.”

So-called bottlenecks don’t just slow down your internal efficiency. They can have a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Bottlenecks will also limit your ability to scale by hindering your ability to ramp up production or on-board new customers. With data on your side, you can identify the bottlenecks and then dig deeper to discover the “why” behind these problems. You can become more proactive in mitigating issues, so challenges can be resolved quickly and effectively.

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Sharing data across departments will further enhance your team’s productivity. When everyone has access to the same data points, communication and collaboration becomes that much easier.

Get Personal With Your Customers

Data is key to unlocking insights about your customers — what they think, what they like and what they want out of your products or services. For example, the Starbucks Rewards mobile app uses reinforcement learning technology to give the app’s users personalized recommendations.

These recommendations draw from a wide variety of data points, such as local store inventory, the customer’s previous orders, current popular selections and even weather or time of day. With 18.9 million active members, this data-driven resource is now responsible for 17 percent of the coffee giant’s sales.

Using data to deliver such touches of personalization allows you to go beyond the one-on-one experience that takes place at a store counter or through a phone call. When you use machine learning and artificial intelligence to adapt everything from emails to website displays, you can personalize at scale to make a broader impact on your customer base.

As Carmen DeCouto, product marketing manager at Sisense explains, “The future of any business — any industry — will be determined by their use of data. It’s not enough to simply collect an infinite number of data points. Every business must be investing in the tools and people to propel them forward in crowded marketplaces where customers may easily choose a competitor.”

Streamline To Cut Out The Fluff

Scaling your business can be expensive, particularly if you need to hire additional employees or start using new tools or processes to manage the increased output. However, as Media Moguls PR founder CEO Blair Nicole notes, “When you grow a business, you commit more resources to gain more revenue. Meanwhile, scaling is about increasing revenue without committing an equal amount in resources, allowing you to boost profits instead of just the size of your company.”

The problem for many entrepreneurs is that they assume they need to increase spending to increase revenue. Unfortunately, this often results in a situation where profits remain stagnant — or even decline.

Taking a deep dive into your data can help you uncover wasted expenses, or identify ways to achieve profit growth without requiring as large of a financial investment. For example, a 2018 analysis of patient data identified potential healthcare savings of roughly $3.6 billion.

Cutting out wasteful spending (or avoiding unnecessary expenses in the first place) will greatly improve your business’s cash flow as you attempt to scale. This will keep your company financially stable during this important transition.

As Sakshi Gupta writes for Springboard, “For instance, an auto insurance company found that more than 80% of the total 100,000 households they sent marketing emails had the wrong demographics as those set of people would never buy insurance from them. After using data and analytics to identify the right demographics, the auto insurance company noticed a tenfold response rate and drastically cut down on marketing costs by conducting targeted direct email campaigns.”

Get Your Data To Work For You

When you use your data to track the right metrics and focus on the most important outcomes for your business, you will be far better equipped to get the insights that will fuel positive change and smart scaling.

By making the most of your data (with the help of a reliable data analytics tool, of course), you won’t just be able to grow your business faster, you will grow smarter, ensuring reliable outcomes that extend well beyond 2021.

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