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.

 

Three Customer Service Tips We Can Do More Often

http://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/3-new-strategic-rules-customer-service-01030897

Came across this article on LinkedIn and wanted to share the 3 new rules of customer service, because more often then not, I think most of us are still missing them.

1. Connect with your customers using the channel and platform of their choice. DMAI get’s way more queries about our analytics business via our FB page and my blog then by website, phone or e-mail. Yet, even after several attempts to have someone responsible for our Social Media, we still don’t have a consistent strategy. Need to fix that asap!

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2. Being proactive means talking with your customers before they decide to use your services. Have conversations that reveal needs and assess opportunities so when the customer is ready to buy, the deal is actually already closed.

3. Having a human voice means really taking a minute to put yourself in the customers shoes. How would you want to be served if you were them? We still rely to much on canned responses and agreeing to have a meeting someday. Not enough let’s figure this out right now.

So, from the article I took away a few to dos to help have more customer insight and deliver better customer service. Hope you do as well! 🙂

Analytics Tool for Sales #3 – Customer Insights

143The third area that most business people undervalue in importance is gathering actionable insights from their customers. Aside from general conversations and dealing with irate or upset customers, how much knowledge are you actually gleaning from them. Do you survey them? Do you have a loyalty program? Do you do AB testing before making changes? These are just a few ways to build up data points you can use to gauge customer satisfaction, understand customer pain points and unearth new niches to exploit.

This is one of the things that Wells Fargo does exceptionally well. During my time with the bank, I was involved with a number of surveys and focus groups to give us some soft data to go with mountains of hard data we culled from internal and external sources. Far too often decisions are made without really listening to the customer… think about the misfires Nextflix had a few years ago. It could have easily been avoided with better intelligence on customer sentiment and a better understanding of what they value. Netflix antagonized their extremely loyal customer based and then made matter worse by mishandling customer feedback.

Beyond just conducting the survey, there are many sure fire ways to construct the survey to assure you get actionable data from the exercise. Just asking questions will only get you so far. You need to be able to construct the questions to give you useful answers that you can use to drive decision-making.

With free survey tools like Surveymonekey, and the ability to easily gather data online via social media, there is really no excuse for a company to have blind spots with their customer base. If you need help setting up, delivering and/or analyzing a customer survey, DMAI has extensive experience with this business intelligence tool.

13 Months in the Philippines- Lesson 4 – August 2012 – Mother Nature Strikes

IMG_1011Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

In late July, 2012, the Philippines was pounded by several typhoons and monsoon rains. There was one period where it rained hard for four days straight non-stop. Before the storms, I was in full swing… setting up speaking engagements, attending job fairs, conducting trainings, and shopping for clients, but then the storms came and everything ground to a halt. At the time, after three months of non-stop working, it seemed like a nice respite.

For those of you who have never been in Manila during a flood, its pretty hard to describe with out it sounding dramatic. In short, the city floods almost every year for a number of reasons. The people are just used to it. Walking in water up to your waste and dealing with school and business closures… its now big thing to most residents of Manila. But for me it was a pretty overwhelming experience. After coming back from a field trip on the 3rd day of the heavy rains, my son was stranded at his school. And I was powerless to do much. We walked a couple of miles from Makati to Manila in heavy downpours to get to his school. There were no taxis or public transit, so we had quite an adventure getting back from Manila to Makati.

Anyway, because of the floods, I did have to cancel once training class. It was a full class of 15 and had a lot of people with call center experience. It would have been a very fun class.

After the floods, things changed pretty significantly and pretty rapidly. More on that in the next blog post. But August was kind of a lost month. I didn’t conduct any other trainings that month due to scheduling issues and for the first time I started to wonder if my plans were going to work.

As an analyst, this is where I had to do a better job looking at and listening to the data. We weren’t making a lot of money on the public trainings and we had only placed 3 of our initial 30+ trainees directly. The business model was not working as it was intended to. Our ROI was not good for job fairs, we were not getting clients to sign up with us directly and I hadn’t quite figured out the marketing yet. So based on all the info, a change in course had to be made. So by the end of August BPO Elite moved in an entirely new direction.

Analytics Tool > SuveryMonkey > http://www.surveymonkey.com

Analytics Concept > Customer Insights > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_insight

YouTube Video > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS_IkObdTc0&feature=share&list=PL7EC252B253873D5D

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business.