Data and analytics are increasingly key strategic differentiators for successful, high growth organizations.

Whether you’re a small local business or a burgeoning firm, you need to consider data as one of your most valuable assets.

Business data can also be one of the greatest risks when left unprotected or inadequately managed. As the volume of data within businesses grows, so do the challenges of protecting and managing it.

Let’s look at 5 tips for data management for small businesses.

When we talk about data management for business, we often are inadvertently also talking about data governance.

So what’s the difference?

Data Governance is the rules, processes, accountability around data.

While data governance creates a framework, data management is more focused on the executive of the rules and processes. 

If you want to know more about data governance, check out this video.

Let’s get into 5 tips for data management for small businesses.

Tip 1  - Understand the potential of the data you have

Your business is probably sitting on a large amount of data – about your customers’ or leads’ preferences and their behavior. Data about the efficiency of your operations. Data about how much your products or services cost to perform or produce.

Creating a data strategy lets you outline what type of data you want to measure, how you’ll measure it, and how it will help your business do better. 

What kind of data do you collect in your business? What could you be doing with this information?

Tip 2  - Store your data smartly

How and where you store your data can make it easier or more difficult to use. Determine how you will store data.

You may have a lot of helpful data, but if it’s not available when you need it - or if it’s out of date or inaccurate - then you can’t do much with it. 

As you think about where you store your data - whether in a system, a spreadsheet, or multiple different locations, be aware of any legal and compliance related requirements that may make some storage locations better than others for specific types of data.

Safeguard against potential data lost with frequent backups. These can be done locally or in the cloud.

For local storage, consider storage on an external hard drive stored offsite. Cloud storage can simplify backups, but also comes with it’s own risks.

The best time to think about recovering lost data is before it happens. Determine whether you’ll manage data recovery yourself or use an outside partner for help.

Tip 3  - Make sure your data is secure

Speaking of storing your data smartly, make sure your data is secure.

Data is vulnerable to a variety of threats - hackers, viruses, ransomware, etc.

Protecting against these is important. Among the steps you can and should take are using firewalls, anti-virus software, and multi-factor authentication. Training your employees about security also can be very helpful. 

In addition to wanting to keep your data secure for general business reasons, you may also need to take steps to comply with regulations depending on the types of data you are collecting.

Tip 4  - Look at your data

What does your data actually have to tell you?

There are a variety of ways to look at what your data has to say.

At a simple level, use spreadsheets.

At more complex levels, you could use data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI. Or even using programming languages for your analysis.

As you look at your data, you’ll probably find opportunities to improve it. Even small issues with data entry can greatly change what the summary of your data looks like.

Tip 5  - Turn your data into profit 

As you start looking at your data, you’ll likely find helpful insights which will lead to profits for your business.

Look for product upsell opportunities.

Look for chances to follow up with previous customers who could become repeat buyers.

Improve your customer service. Improve your resource utilization. 

These 5 tips will help you move forward with better data management.

Need help with analytics and process management?

If you’re looking for help to streamline your business and leverage your data, contact me below.

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