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.

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. Sonic Analytics is at the fore front of providing analytics training, consulting and outsourcing options to small businesses. Contact us now at info@sonicanalytics.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on how to get more analytics in your small business.

Dan Meyer heads Sonic Analytics, an analytics advocacy with offices in Manila, the San Francisco Bay Area and as of February 2019, Ocala, FL. With over 20 years in Big Data, Dan is one of the most sought-after public speakers in Asia and has recently begun offering public training seminars in the United States.

Sonic Analytics(www.sonicanalytics.com) brings big data analytics solutions like business intelligence, business dashboards and data storytelling to small and medium sized organizations looking to enhance their data-driven decision-making capabilities. We also advocate the use of analytics for civic responsibility through training, consulting and education.

As citizens of this great democracy, we need to look at the data (analytics), plan a course of action (strategy) and share our data-driven viewpoints (presentation). This approach to a data savvy work force starts in school. So, we started an internship program to empower our youth to use Analytics, plan Strategy and Present their insights… ASP!

When not training current and future analysts, you can find Dan championing the use of analytics to empower data-driven citizenship by volunteering his expertise with schools and non-profits dedicated to evidence-based social progress like Saint Leo University’s Women in Data + Science Program and the Data + Women of Tampa Meet Up Group.

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Can Analytics Help a Sari Sari Store?

I had this interesting conversation earlier about analytics.

I started explaining to the person I was sitting next to what I do and he asked can analytics really help any business?

Of course I said yes.

He asked even a Sari Sari store?

For those of you who don’t know much about Sari Sari stores, let me tell you a bit about them.

By far the most common form of self-employment in the Philippines are small, family operated convenience stores. Called Sari-Sari stores, there are an estimated 1 million Sari Sari stores across the Philippines. Per wikipedia, this counts for an estimated 30% of all retail sales in the Philippines.

Sari-Sari, which is Tagalog for variety, are an important economic and social pieces of just about every Filipino community. Most are privately run, family owned and are operated from the front of the owners house.

Commodities are displayed behind a large mesh screen to both allow customers to see what is available and to prevent shoplifting. The most common goods sold are candy, snacks and other non-perishable food items. Cigarettes and mobile phone cards are also popular items for sale. Household needs like soap, detergent and cleaning supplies are also common. Some stores have small refrigerators to offer cold drinks like soda and beer.

Sari-sari stores generally have higher prices when compared to supermarkets which is a tradeoff for proximity to their customers. It is also common to buy single units of a product versus an entire package as paying more to meet a quick need is valued over planning and budgeting bulk purchase over the long term.

Some Sari Sari stores also offer credit to neighbors. Micro lending of this scale is wide spread and generally done under the rule that if the credit is not repaid, the store owner will report this to the local government officials.

Some Sari Sari stores barter goods and services with farmer, fishermen and other businesses.

Most Sari Sari store proprietors buy their goods at supermarkets then mark up the prices for resale (on the average 20%). In some areas, businessmen make act a middle man offering bulk products to the Sari Sari store.

It is my belief that most Sari Sari stores can benefit from a simple strategic business plan and some very basic analytics.

My understanding is that Sari Sari stores operate on a very tactical level with little long term planning and operate with little market awareness.

If I ever to consult with the owner of a Sari Sari store, my initial approach would be to develop a business strategy plan and build a basic analytics process to gather data and provide a proof of concept.

This approach would be broken into the following steps:

  1. Business Strategy Assessment – How do they conduct business?
  2. Competitive Landscape – Who do they compete with?
  3. Demographic Profile – Who are their customers?
  4. Market Assessment – How much upside is in their market?
  5. Inventory Analysis – How to they optimize inventory?
  6. Facilities Assessment – Are they getting the most of their location?
  7. Risk & Security Assessment – What risks do they face?

I will flesh out each of these steps in upcoming blog posts.

Once I have complied data from these 7 steps, I can develop a business strategy plan unique to the individual Sari Sari store.

After my presentation of the business plan, I can make a determination if they Sari Sari store will enter Phase Two of the plan.

I would work with the proprietor store for a set period of time in a consulting role to determine viability of operations and if they meet our program standards (detailed later in this document).

In addition to offering a consulting solution, through my company, I can also offer additional services including cash management, accounting, marketing, inventory and fulfillment assistance, and other solutions as they arise.

Its my experience that the busiest Sari Sari stores offer something unique. Some might have an ice cream maker, or a special dish they prepare, or some have home baked goods. Regardless, they generally have something that sets them apart from a store that just offers traditional goods.

So, the final piece of my involvement would be cross selling our unique products to Sari Sari stores in need of a unique product to build their business around.

After that consultation, I would expect that three things would happen:

  1. the Sari Sari store proprietor would have a better grasp of a strategic business strategy.
  2. the Sari Sari store would increase profits and
  3. the Sari Sari store would expand its customer base and build up loyalty with existing customers.

So, to get back to the question… how can analytics help a Sari Sari store?

By applying some lessons from the corporate world.

Dr. Data_Analytics in the Philippines

Analytics in the Philippines – The Philippines is at the center of the action when it comes to solutions to the global need for analytics. Blessed with a solid foundation of young, educated and English speaking workforce, companies around the world are look for Filipino analytics talent to fill analytics positions. DMAIPH was set up to facilitate these solutions and bring the talent and the business together. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can help you take advantage of this unique global opportunity.

 

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.

11709268_10153506561077425_1608720566061502683_n

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.

 

 

 

 

Analytics for the Small Business

Analytics is about looking for patterns in data to help answer questions. Most businesses use analytics to help ensure more data-driven decision-making.

No matter the size, scale or scope, every business generates a wealth of business data. Every business has an opportunity to uses that data to drive more intelligent decisions.

The primary people responsible for conducting analytics on the massive amounts of data we have today are analysts. Analysts are skilled in using various technologies and methodologies to identify, inventory and integrate large amounts of data quickly.

The term analytics can often be used interchangeably with statistics and data science. What separates analytics from disciplines like statistics and data science is generally the speed of the analysis and the focus on solving business problems.

The most common form of analytics is business analytics that are generally used by owners, senior leaders and decision-makers to investigate problems, validate assumptions and to guide strategic planning. As a generalist, business analysts can help in a number of areas of the business.

Business analysts are therefore the most common type of analyst, especially in a small business. If you do a job search on the title analyst, as many as half the posting will likely be business analysts. However, analytics can be used in an almost limitless number of business functions in specific areas like HR, recruitment, marketing, finance, and so on. Each one can have its very own analyst.

Analysts have been around a long time, but recent technological advances have both allowed us to produce and capture more data as well as give us the ability to analyze immense data sets quickly. Thus we are amidst a huge boom in the applications of analytics and the need for analytics talent across the globe. Analytics is something just about every business leader is trying to figure out how to use more effectively in their business. To add to our challenge, the demand for good analysts is booming just as fast as the explosion in big data.

As a result, there is a huge shortage of people who are skilled in working with data to answer questions and solve problems. This is why you have seen the number of analyst job postings increasing at an amazing rate. In the first few chapters of the book we will discuss the quickening demand for analytics talent and why it is so hard to find good analysts, especially at the small business level.

If you are a business leader, manager, owner, and/or executive are not actively trying to surround yourself with analysts and if you are not infusing an analytics centric culture in your business, you will most likely soon see your business fail.

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A small business needs analysts to make sense of big data, manage the storage of the data, and know when to use which of the 3 types of analytics (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive). To be effective, analysts need to have business intelligence tools to create data visualizations and build business dashboards.

If you need an analyst or want to be trained in analytics, connect with me and I can show you how to get started.

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.

Outsourcing Tips for Small Businesses

Small Business Analytics is not a very well established discipline.

You generally see analytics across all kinds of businesses in just about every industry, but for the most part these businesses are large in size.

The concept of analytics is something that most small businesses have not embraced because of two perceptions that hinder the adoption of best practices; a good analytics solution is too time consuming and too expensive.

These perceptions are often false. Just about any small business can benefit from a number of analytics techniques and technologies that do not require significant amounts of time or financial resources.

When talking with a small business owner about their business, I like to ask a series of questions to gain and understanding of the data they have to work within their business.

Generally, I find that they rarely, if ever they even think about the data they have.

So that is often where we start. Trying to map out their data environment.

Once we have an idea how data is (or could be) collected and stored, then we can turn to talking about analysis.

And after I have a good idea of what (if anything) they are doing with their data we can move to reporting. How is data and analysis presented within the business.

14045878_10154480087262425_4779154686875783746_nOften I find that pieces of the data collection, storage, analysis and reporting process are happening in subtle ways that don’t, on the surface, look like an analytics solution.

Over the next several blog posts in this series, I will offer up some tips to small business leaders, managers to point out where more analytics can be used with minimal time or cost impact to themselves.

To date I have helped over a dozen small businesses come up with an analytics solution tailored to their unique needs. We have been able to address key challenges that only a deeper understanding of the data in their business can uncover.

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.

 

Know How to Make a Profit

I have been self-employed for 4.5 years now.

Some tell me that’s remarkable, but I am just doing what I do best. Sharing my passion for analytics.

Depending on how you measure success, I have had some pretty good successes. But also some pretty amazing failures too.

I get why so many small business fail. It take a lot of perseverance to rely just on yourself and a small circle of supporters for your livelihood.

IMG_7018

So at this point in my career, almost 5 years of being the man after 20 years of working for the man, I know how to make a profit.

First off I have to stick to my plan. Allow for it to evolve and be flexible, but year in and year out I stick to the plan on being the name brand in analytics in the Philippines.

Second, I create a lot of content. If content is good and in my case, I can humbly say it is. People will pay for it. Books, Blogs, Conferences, Public Seminars and In House Trainings all help to generate revenue. Its all from me brain, its all based on content in my head. As long as I can create engaging content, I can make money.

Third, I have to live within my means. Always keep one eye on the future. Trust the right people. Business acumen like that which balances success with failure enough that I can keep going.

The next key is that you have to be connected. Know what’s hot now and what will be hot. I read a lot. I follow a lot of things via social media. I keep myself informed on what’s going on with my customers, my future customers, my competitors and those who can influence my business. In short I am constantly networking.

And finally you have to love what you do. I can’t imagine any small business owner who can survive long without the passion that comes from deep inside. Its near impossible to make a profit without any passion behind it.

So how do I know how to make a profit?

I have lived it.

Let me show you how!

#IamDMAI

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.

How to Build Your Business Strategy

Business strategy is something that comes naturally to me. I’m good at anticipating challenges, at doing research to assess the risk and reward to multiple options and I love to use data to validate or refute initial findings.

Though easy for me, I have found that being successful with business strategy is not as natural for most business owners, senior managers and decision-makers.

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When I set up my first company, it was based on a year of research and lots of networking. When I launched my second business it was based not just on research and networking, but learning from the mistakes made the first time with financial planning and partner relationships. Now on my third business, having taken the best of everything that worked before and finding ways to mitigate the things that went wrong before.

Now, for most business leaders you can’t just hit the rest button every few years, but you should hit the reset button on your initial strategy. Adapt to changes in the market. Glean new insights on cutting edge technology. Stay on top of industry trends.

That’s the first key to business strategy. Understanding that it is a continual process that evolves. Many businesses fail because they don’t change with the times or because leaders just stick with what has always worked. That’s dinosaur thinking.

Any good business strategy has to adopt a continuous process improvement policy, using something Six Sigma or Lean to keep things form getting stale.

A good business strategy also seeks out new technologies that can disrupt both their business and their business marketplace. What was cutting edge and trendy six months ago most likely be as effective six months from now. Good Business intelligence tools that can do cool data visualizations and build business dashboards help us stay ahead of the game. I show a lot of people how to do this using Tableau Public, which is free and easy to learn.

The next key to business strategy is integrating customer insights into everything you do. If you don’t listen to your customers, if you can’t predict what they need, and if you have a strategy that puts profit before customer experience you will probably fail.

It amazes me when I see bad customer service, products that no longer meet customer needs being produced and unimaginative marketing campaigns. In this day and age, with access to our customers at unprecedented levels, there is no excuse for failing to get it right the first time.  We do a lot of surveying and engage using social media to stay connected.

The third key I include in my business strategy planning and consulting is understanding the competitive landscape. Knowing where we stack up in the marketplace, what are our strengths and weaknesses, what is hot and what is not… you need to put as much focus on what is happening outside the business as you need to know what’s happening inside.

Almost everyone I talk with about their competitors share with me one common feeling… I don’t really know what my competitors are doing. In fact a high percentage even struggle to identify who their key competitors are. We are active in industry organizations, online social media groups and attend competitors events to stay up to date.

Business strategy is a lot more than just business intelligence, customer insights, and competitive landscapes, but it is a good start. If you are able to add these to financial models and demographic data, you will have a well-rounded business strategy. And then its just a matter of keeping it fresh, resetting it every so often to make sure you don’t become a dinosaur.

Let me know if I can help. In the past few years I have helped companies of all shapes and sizes refine their business strategy using my keys to success.

Business Strategy with Analytics – Aligning a business strategy to drive an organization forward requires a robust analytics solution. Businesses who have good analytics tend to be much more profitable and efficient then ones that do not. DMAIPH has helped dozens of companies in both the U.S. and the Philippines with adding more data analysis in their business strategy. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out what we can do to help you align your business strategy with analytics.

Dan… Stick To The Plan

Having one of those days we all have once in awhile… where you invested so much time and energy into a plan, but you feel a need to change the plan.

For some it is comes with not playing well by rules. The more rules the less freedom and the less sense of  having control.

For others it may be the plan not longer fits where their life has evolved.

And then there are some who just like changing things. Mixing them up so they don’t stagnate and get bored.

Me, I’m all three.

I often hear the term serial entrepreneur… people who start things up and when the business reaches a certain point of maturity, they move on.

Never thought that one fit me too well. Im not really the cut bait and move on, I just like adding new things to what I am already doing.

I also think a lot about my super high expectations… since it is so hard to keep up with me, just about everyone tires and slows down eventually. Its impossible to expect the average person to stick to my plan, which makes it hard for me to stick to it.

workhard

However, at this point I have built something special. The company still needs a lot of work. The business plan needs to evolve faster than it has. We need to patch some holes in the boat. But overall, DMAIPH is in a pretty good spot.

So this is one of those “Stick To The Plan, Dan” days.

Look at the data, fight off the wanderlust (at least for now) and carry on.

Change is coming soon, I crave that change and Hope is just around the corner… but not today.

Work on payroll, add something to the book, blog…

Business Strategy with Analytics – Aligning a business strategy to drive an organization forward requires a robust analytics solution. Businesses who have good analytics tend to be much more profitable and efficient then ones that do not. DMAIPH has helped dozens of companies in both the U.S. and the Philippines with adding more data analysis in their business strategy. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out what we can do to help you align your business strategy with analytics.

Communicating Strategy From the Bottom

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/strategy-isnt-what-you-say-its-what-you-do/

Came across the log post about strategy implementation and I think it’s a good one for consultants working with senior management teams. It goes along the lines of walking the talk.

“Strategic choice-making cascades down the entire organization, from top to bottom. This means that every person in the company has a key role to play in making strategy. Performing that role well means thinking hard about four things:

1) What is the strategic intent of the leaders of the level above mine?
2) What are the key choices that I make in my jurisdiction?
3) With what strategic logic can I align those choices with those above me?
4) How can I communicate the logic of my strategy choices to those who report to me?

If you as a manager can do the first three of these four, then you will own your choices and own your strategy. If you do the fourth, you will set up your subordinates to repeat these four things and thereby own their choices and their strategy, and pass on the task to the next layer of the company. If each successive layer assumes this level of ownership, the organization can make its bosses’ statement a real strategy rather than an empty slogan.”

I can personally say that these points are all very important to infuse into the culture of your company. Both from my Wells Fargo experience where these are deeply ingrained in the corporate culture to the smaller scale of my own company, clearly communicated strategy is the key.
When not only your direct reports, but your two downs are spreading the gospel, you will be successful.

If you need help getting your team to walk the talk, I’m happy to help.

Business Strategy with Analytics – Aligning a business strategy to drive an organization forward requires a robust analytics solution. Businesses who have good analytics tend to be much more profitable and efficient then ones that do not. DMAIPH has helped dozens of companies in both the U.S. and the Philippines with adding more data analysis in their business strategy. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out what we can do to help you align your business strategy with analytics.

 

Outsourcing Tip > Make NASA Jealous! Ensure You Have A Smooth Launch Of Your Outsourcing Efforts

The final area that I have seen countless outsourcing efforts fall short is in having a smooth launch. You have put so much time into sizing the opportunity, negotiating the contract, finding the right people, acquiring the technology you need and building a technique playbook, but you aren’t done yet. You still need to roll it out.

When it comes to outsourcing, there is one thing I have never, ever seen. And that is a full delivery of services, exactly as required on target and without any glitches.

Here are a few keys to ensuring that you go live and avert as many potential disasters as possible.
• First of all, have a risk minded person involved. Someone who is great at looking at something and then coming up with a laundry list of things that can go wrong. And then most importantly, have them in charge of eliminating or mitigating the risks.
• Second, have your processes, the workflow, escalation procedures, and other important documents in writing for the team. No battle plan survives first contact unscathed, but the battle will go much better with one.
• Third, brief everyone. Have a pre-kick off meeting, do a walk through, run lots of tests. Do whatever you can to mimic production so that people get used to having to make decisions just like they will when things are live.
• And finally, hapollo11ave a plan to celebrate. Let everyone know what awaits them if they pull everything off. Give them an extra reason to go an extra step. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team enjoying the celebration of a new start.

That is just a few ideas of what you can do to ensure your launch go as smooth a NASA’s putting a man on the moon!

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.