5 Small Business Data Management Challenges
If you are a small business owner in 2017, embracing technological advances especially in data management of customers, leads and prospects can put you ahead of the competition or leave yourself sifting through almost infinite amounts of data. Despite all the data out there, you know how vital the science behind the information can be, and how helpful it can be to your business if applied correctly. By implementing a proactive data management strategy, a small business may be able to face challenges head-on with more ease and agility.
Implementing a Data Strategy
In the interest of efficiency, you must have a data strategy to set the tone for how your company will collect, store and manage relevant information. For your own edification as well as your employees, you’ll need associated explanations and procedures for every method.
For example, you might collect information on paying members for whatever service you’re offering. Therefore, your data strategy should include a hierarchy of access. Senior employees may have access to more information about clients, for example. These rules must be clear from the start in order to avoid access control issues in the future. Set permissions to limit access to client confidential information and set up a clear path to access for employees who are moving up. Once you have done this, your next order of business is actual data collection.
Not all Data is Equal: Decide What to Collect
Since security is paramount for the continued success of your business, your data collection and storage option must meet PCI compliance rules. Many companies simply let a trusted, third-party merchant, that’s completely dedicated to security, handle the sensitive financial information of their clients. Of course, you can do it yourself; just apprise your customers of the level of security you’re using and have a security analyst determine if your in-office data storage infrastructure and procedures are adequate.
More on Storing Data
For optimal results, the data you collect will inevitably contain personal information, how else would you use it to effectively market to people? If you collect credit card info, social security numbers, and other personal identifiers; these must be stored securely to avoid lawsuits, loss of customers, and maintain your company’s reputation.
In addition, ensure that your company keeps control of this data and do not let individuals set up private accounts as this could cause significant issues if they leave your organization or if they share this account with others.
Maximizing the Utility of the Collected Data
Although this may sound daunting at first, one of the best things about data utilization and data mining is the existence of tried-and-true methods. Check out what other companies in your vertical are doing, and test how well these methods mesh with your mission statement or platform. Keep in mind, people are inundated often with unsolicited emails these days (even with (complex or sophisticated) spam-blockers), so you should only send out short, well-crafted messages that provide some value to your prospective customers.
Data Sharing Protocols
This final note in small business challenges is tied to the data permissions features briefly touched on earlier. With the trend being Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in most offices, it’s important to have protocols established regarding mobile hardware and data access. Since many programs sync information across devices automatically, you may want to implement office rules that forbid or restrict certain data from being put on hardware that leaves the office. As the above rules propagate through your business, you’ll be better positioned to serve your customers.