The 3 Pillars of Small Business Analytics

When I consult with small business owners, there are 3 areas where my guidance generally has the most impact. I call these areas the 3 Pillars of Small Business Analytics.

The first pillar is a Competitive Landscape. I have found that very few small business owners really have a handle on the competition.

A competitive landscape analysis will reveal threats and opportunities that generally are not obvious to a business owner who focuses most of his/her energy on running the business itself.

Some of the data points you can capture and analyze include pricing, location, business size, quality, scope of business, diversity of product offering and of course revenue.  You would be surprised to find how easy it is to gather all this info.

Knowing where your products and services stack up against your competition is a key to prosperity. To achieve this understanding you need to use analytics.

The second pillar is a Demographic Profile. I have also found that very few small business owners really understand the demographics around their business.

A demographic profile analysis will illustrate how closely your customer base mirrors the actual population around your business. In many cases small businesses are not positioning their services correctly based on the opportunity in their market.

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Data to include would be traditional demographic markers like age, race, sex, family status, financial status, economic state, etc. There is a ridiculous amount of data on the internet that can be mined free and easy.

Making sure your business is properly positioned to take advantage of your arket will ensure more long term success. The data is out there; you just need to know how to bring it into your analytics process.

The third pillar is Customer Insights. With the boom in social media, most small businesses have not figured out how to capture and analyze all the information being published and shared about their business.

Customer Insight analysis allows a business owner to stay on top of problems and identify how customers feel about their business quickly.

We all know how quickly things can go viral and having a good tool to capture customer sentiment in social media is generally the most overlooked aspect of running a small business.

Positive and negative reviews, trending items, number of likes, follows and shares, are all items that can be rolled into customer insights. You can combine this with surveys, focus groups and loyalty programs among other things to get a full picture of your business.

If you are a small business owner, decision-maker or analyst then focusing on these analytics pillars will make all the difference in the world.

And the best part, is they are all free and easy to bring into your business.

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

 

 

 

 

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The Analytics I See While Sitting @ Taco Bell

I know I a total analytics nerd.

While sitting a taco bell I started thinking of all the data and analysis that this places creates.

So I’ll imagine I’m the franchise owner. Obviously my biggest concern is making a profit.

Its 9am on a weekday morning. Not very busy. Come to think of it, I have been to this location several times and have never seen it very busy. I’m sure they have peak times, but I have never seen one.

So let me take a step back and think about things like an analyst advising the owner.

First off, what % of profit comes from what time and day of the week. Defining peak times is something most business owners deal with to make sure they are staffed correctly.

Being optimal with staffing is one way successful businesses prosper and unsuccessful ones fail. Idle employees quickly become bad employees and overworked employees also become bad employees. There are two customers inside, just the occasional drive through customer, yet there are 6 employees here. Way more than needs to be I think. Looking at the data would undoubtedly tell the whole story and allow better workforce planning decisions.

The 2nd thing that comes to mind is the competition. Taco Bell is rarely thought of as a morning option. There are literally a dozen Starbucks within 5 minute’s drive and as least as many other coffee places.

Then you have the fact this location is between a McDonalds, a Jack in a Box and a Nation’s. All places with a much higher top of mind appeal when it comes to a quick breakfast. The menu and pricing is most likely tied to corporate requirements, but to compete in this crowded marketplace you need to be good and you need to be cheap.

They have a pretty good $1 menu selection. That’s good because it means it’s cheaper than just about anywhere else around. TB also have a lot of unique offerings. So that is good. Finding ways to market those positives locally is probably a good place to look into the data.

Where, when and how can this location interact with potential customers to get TB higher up on the list of breakfast options. Lots of data there to be gathered and analyzed about both the completion and the demographics of current and potential customers.

The third thing that caught my attention is its calm here. Easy rock playing on the radio. No TVs. No kid’s playground. Not a lot of hustle and bustle.

I ended up writing 4 blog posts while sitting here. I also recall that on a recent visit someone was working on a laptop while here. Its not a bad place to get some work done. So looking at who comes in, how long they stay and what they do while they are here is worthwhile.

So, that is what analysts do. They observe, they collect, they analyze, they offer suggestions. Then they monitor, they measure, they report trends and uncover opportunities.

14232472_10154551345857425_8165709150773510742_nIf I was working for the owner here, the data would probably back up my observations and suggest something like this…

Send someone to the local retirement communities (there are several in the area) to offer some kind of special loyalty program to people who dine in on weekday mornings. Make sure the staff is engaged with that demographic. Offer things that the competition does not and make a big deal about it.

All of this can be based on data, measured and refined using data and in the end increase the profitability of this location.

This is what I do in my spare time. Imagine what I can do to help you use analytics to increase your profits and optimized your business.

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

 

 

 

 

Analytics for the Small Business Owner

Do you know a small business owner who could use a little help in making their business more profitable and efficient?

I am looking for a half dozen small businesses that I can help then better understand their business data.  In exchange for my help I would like to use them as a case study in a new book I am working on.

The new book will be an Analytics Guidebook for Small Business Owners. I have found that while analytics has great success in boosting efficiency and increasing profit in large and medium sized businesses across the U.S., the same has not happened for most small business owners.

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So, I am hoping you can refer me to a small business owner you know that might be interested in some help. The kind of help I offer would be to do a simple business intelligence package for them consisting of building a competitor landscape, compiling a demographic profile and collecting customer insights. There are things I specialized in while with Wells Fargo.

In exchange for this package, I would just ask for some access to their data. How they manage expenses, payroll, inventory, and other data rich business processes. I would sign a non-disclosure agreement and not ask for access to any private information, just some raw data to work with.

I am happy to elaborate more, if you know someone who is interested. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Daniel Meyer, Analytics Champion

www.dmaiph.com

Small Business Analytics – The field of small business analytics is just starting to blossom as companies are looking for more data-driven decision-making to prosper in the age of Big Data. DMAIPH is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

 

Time Consuming Tasks, Your Small Business Should Outsource

Many entrepreneurs and small business owners reject outsourcing because of the perceived extra cost.

However, they fail to calculate the value of opportunities lost because they sank too much time into energy-sapping tasks best left to others.

DMAIPH has a team of top talent that can take on several of the things you are doing that eat up way to much of your precious time.

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We specialize in:

  • Graphics Design
  • Social Media
  • Market Research
  • Competitor Intelligence
  • Customer Feedback
  • Data Mining
  • Basic Analytics
  • Administrative Support

We can also build you a business dashboard using the free and easy to use Tableau Public (www.tableaupublic.com) business intelligence tool. Our team of analysts will also show you how to use Tableau Public to make more data-driven decisions in your business.

Contact us today for a free consultation. DMAIPH has been providing outsourcing solutions to U.S. based small and medium sized business for over 5 years.  Our offices in the Philippines are set up with state of the art technology and staffed with top local talent.

Analytics Outsourcing – DMAIPH has successful set up Filipino analytics teams for over a dozen U.S. based businesses. Offering both virtual and office based teams that specialize in problem solving using data, new technology and analytics techniques is our strength. Finding and empowering analytics talent is increasingly challenging, but we have it down to a science. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to learn more about how to set up an analytics-centric team in the Philippines.

Start With A Simple Market Assessment

Assessing growth potential in existing or new markets requires some common sense, critical thinking, the right data and solid analysis.

To get started you need to consider if you are asking the right questions when assessing market growth opportunities?

This simple assessment will help a company determine whether to invest time and resources in a new initiative:

• What is the current size of the market?
• What is the potential size of the market?
• How much of the market share do you have now and how much do you want?
• How well does our product fit into the current market?
• Can we create a new market for our product?
• If we are in the market already, what has made us successful and/or what has made us unsuccessful?
• What are the different segments of the market?
• Do we want to compete in all of them or only some of them?
• Who are the competitors in the market and why do customers buy from them?
• What do we need to do to get customers to buy from us?

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Understanding the demographics of your customers and the marketplace, having a clear picture of the competitive landscape around you and having insight into current and potential customers are all things you need before you expand.

DMAI Analysts are available to help you gain a strategic perspective on your market. Let us know what we can do to help.

Social Intelligence Is A Competitive Advantage

Just came across a Tableau white paper and one of the top 10 business intelligence trends they talk about is how Social Intelligence is increasingly becoming a distinct competitive advantage.

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“In 2014 we saw organizations begin to analyze social data in earnest. In 2015, the leading edge will start to take advantage of their capabilities. Tracking conversations at scale via social will let companies find out when a topic is starting to trend and what their customers are talking about. Social analytics will open the door to responsive product optimization.”

Per Wikipedia, “Social intelligence is the capacity to effectively negotiate complex social relationships and environments…[ it is social intelligence, rather than quantitative intelligence, that defines humans… social intelligence is an aggregated measure of self- and social-awareness, evolved social beliefs and attitudes, and a capacity and appetite to manage complex social change.”

So what is the social intelligence of your business? Are you managers and decision-makers looking at data to help them understand the social intelligence of your business? How do you measure social intelligence and start calibrating data?

These questions are exactly the kinds of things DMAI can help you with.

Five Trends I Shared With A Class Of Future Analysts

Just wanted to share my perspective on what I see as being five trends that future analysts here in the Philippines can jump on to help them get ahead of the competition as they look for their first job.

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1. Finding Unstructured Data on the Internet
Most Data is Unstructured, meaning it’s not easily accessible and stored in an internal database. This goes against the conventional approach to analytics where you write a query to pull data from a big data warehouse and dump it into an analytics tool. For most analysts, trying to find unstructured data and then capture it and use it in decision-making is not easy.

2. Self Service Business Intelligence Tools
Business intelligence (BI) refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue, market opportunity or product performance. Self-service ones are easy to learn, sit on a desktop and have more power to do great analytics then a team of 10 IT Engineers did 5 years ago. My favorite BI tool is Tableau. Check it our at http://www.tableausoftware.com

3. Competitor Intelligence
Per Wikipedia, competitive intelligence is the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization.Every successful business conducts competitor intelligence and uses this process in various ways. Some examples for a fast food chain might include:
> Pricing
> Product and Service Offerings
> Targeted Demographic Marketing
> Marketing Promotions
> Location Renovations and Expansions

4. Data Visualization
The main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A good pie chart is worth 10,000 rows of data stored in a database. I often say what separates a good analyst form a great analysts, is the ability to easily communicate their findings in a way that makes it easy to exercise good decision-making.

5. Business Dashboards
Wikipedia’s definition of a business dashboard: “An easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status (snapshot) and historical trends of an organization’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance.” That’s a mouthful, but if you are able to deliver all of these items in a single view, you are worth your weight in gold to an analytics savvy organization.

To learn more about analytics, DMAI and careers as an analyst in the Philippines, follow this blog and you will keep yourself on the cutting edge of all things analytics!

How To Build A Competitive Landscape for Your Marketing Strategy

In preparation for my talk next week at CSB, I wanted to share with you one of the simplest parts of a well-rounded analytics solution.. which is to take account for the competition. I talk about this a lot because it’s often one of the most overlooked.

So, lets say we work for an events management company and we are going to set up a training workshop on business analytics. We need to provide our marketing team with some data to help them in their efforts. To help ensure the program will be a success, there are several data points about the competition we can source to see how we stack up in comparison.

First let us look at pricing. How much are we going to charge for the workshop? We need to make money, so first of all we need to account for expenses and determine an ideal profit margin and then set a target ticket price. That’s simple. However are there other workshops out there that offer similar content for a lower price? Or can we raise our ticket price to be more in line with the market?

To get the data we need to survey the marketplace and gather the intel and put in a simple excel file just to see where our desired price points compares. It may take a few hours of calls, web searches and online inquires, but it all pretty much public data and easy to get.

Second, we can look at format. How long is our workshop? How many speakers? Will there be a panel of experts? We can gather these data points at the same time we capture pricing data, so let’s just add a few more columns to the excel file. This way we can see with some certainty about the number of competitors we have and how our workshop will measure up.

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To give a different type of dimension to our landscape, let’s look at reputation. So let’s add one more set up columns to capture year established, number of public training offerings a month and number of cities/provinces used. And then add a final column for general notes. The idea here is we are going to add analysis to how credible a competitor they are. We can see who has been around awhile and who is new to the game, who has a narrow scope and who is everywhere. This way we look at more than just raw numbers.

SO, you take your spreadsheet, you fill it out and then you add a row for our own company and then we can see where we rank in each of the categories (columns). It’s not a 100% scientific, but it will give us a good idea of where we stand in the grand scheme of analytics training options out there.

Based on this analysis we can help the marketing team by showing our relative value to attendees as compared to other options. We can distinguish what it is about our format that gives us an edge. And we can advise marketing on what parts of our credibility we want to promote.

For example, a tagline marketing can use based on our data could be something like Join DMAI, the Philippines most well established name in Analytics, for an innovative approach analytics training next month at a very affordable price.

There you go! 🙂

Marketing to Your Competition… Face Palm!

I get e-mails like this all the time…

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Dan,
I was doing some research on BPO Elite, and based on your previous interest, I was inspired to reach out to you for your guidance.
How much of the information within your data is locked away, hidden, and inaccessible in the moments you need visibility to it the most? Are you facing any challenges surrounding accurate forecasting? What would it mean to you to have everyone at every level of the organization, working from a single version of the truth?
We are helping organizations reduce the time to access relevant data by 95%. Is “good enough” really good enough moving forward to a new year in 2014?
With end of year promotions beginning now, the purpose of my note is to determine if this is an area of interest for your team and also the best person to speak with about achieving powerful business analytics and beautiful dashboard reporting.
Thank you for your time and feedback Dan.
===============================================

Insert Face Palm image > facepalm

So if you spend 10 seconds on any of my social media sites, its pretty clear that I am all about analytics! So in effect they are asking me to outsource what we do for a living to them?

I find this quite comical.

I imagine the person who sent this email is either going off a list or just spamming and hoping to get lucky. Because when you market to you competition you want to at least come off as you know you are marketing to your competition.

Analytics Tool for Sales #2 – Competitor Landscape

IMG_1833Another blind spot for a lot of business leaders is knowing their competition. Most have some sense of where they stack up on price and know what the competition offers, but few put any real data and analysis behind it. They make a lot of business decisions based on personal observations and historical knowledge. Very few mystery shop or put together a competitor landscape.

Per Wikipedia, competitiveness pertains to the ability and performance of a firm, sub-sector or country to sell and supply goods and services in a given market, in relation to the ability and performance of other firms, sub-sectors or countries in the same market. You take data points on the various aspects of products and services and you visualize them to see where you rank. Based on your ranking and the variances between competitors you can have a more focused business strategy and make more data-driven decisions.

Competitive data can be gathered off the internet, by phone and in person mystery shopping and surveying your own customers. Its a very powerful piece of information to know what your own customers are buying from your competition and why. When I was at Wells Fargo, I build a competitive landscape of all the primary money transfers business and monthly updated the management team with our rankings and trends. We would often use this information to adjust pricing and launch new marketing initiatives.

Do you know who your competitors are, where they are better than you and how you stack up in your own customers minds? DMAI offers a suite of business intelligence solutions to small and medium sized business including building and maintaining a competitor landscape for your business.