Small business people are busy people. You’re hiring staffers, balancing your business’ budget, creating new services and creating marketing campaigns. You’ve also the person in charge of setting your business’ hours and scouting out new areas for expansion. So you’re not delighted that business experts are telling you you need to study big data, too, to gain a competitive edge. You may not even know what big data is — the majority of people don’t. But that does not mean it’s not vital to the success of your small business.
Defining Big Data
John Weathington, while writing for the TechRepublic Web site, defines big data as massive amounts of rapidly moving and freely available information that serves an important need in the business marketplace. Companies that have access to big data about their own customers’ needs and wants, and their willingness to pay to have what they want, can gain a big competitive edge, especially in a challenging economy. Unfortunately, as Weathington writes, it’s not easy for small business owners to access and analyze big data. The ones that do it, though, will be rewarded.
Big Data In Action
CIO Magazine recently highlighted three business successes that were made possible thanks in large part to harnessing big data to gain new customers. The magazine looked at financial firm Financial Engines. This company uses large financial data sets and analytics tools to provide clients data-based advice on how to best save for retirement. The impressive amount of trend and statistical information the company can access is a prime selling point to new customers.
Exmobaby uses big data in a different way: Its pajamas feature built-in sensors that compile health information on the babies wearing them. The sensors then compile this health-and-wellness data so that parents can access it. The marketing advantage here is obvious: Exmobaby can take large amounts of data and then use it to show concerned parents how healthy their babies are. Parchment relies on big data to help students apply for the appropriate colleges. The company uses a database of grade point averages, SAT scores and college acceptance data to steer students toward those colleges most likely to accept them. The CIO Magazine story proves that big data is not an esoteric matter. It’s real information that will help owners of small companies gain new clients.