We tend to think of the only useful data as the “big data” that are acquired, saved, and analyzed by massive organizations, search engines, and corporate entities. As entrepreneurs, we have to stop looking at data this way, and we must learn to use the information available to us to best run our businesses. Today, we touch base on six areas where the information you have access to right now can guide you toward success.

Before starting in however, it is important to organize the information you gather into a summary that you can use to really improve your business.  A good framework for doing this is the Business Model Canvas used in many Agile/Lean projects.  On this one-page summary you can capture summarized points you gather from the six sources below. 


Marketing in the digital age means reaching customers where they already are. For most of us, this means our social media pages, which, fortunately, offer lots of insights, data, and analytic tools to help us identify customer behaviors and spot patterns. Be sure to engage your colleagues and friends in creatively asking the right questions and gathering the right data.  This information can help you reform your marketing strategies and come up with a marketing plan that gets you closer to your sales, marketing, and innovation goals. As you engage in different marketing techniques, you can even use data to measure your success and then make changes as needed.

Risk Management

Your business is at risk of many things every day. One of these is cyber threats. You can use data analytics – this might be something as simple as reading your antivirus security log – to mitigate potential threats. But, what is IT security data protection, and how do you create a recovery plan? Start by getting your management team together to identify the most vulnerable and important data sources. Make sure these are backed up on-site, off-site, and on the cloud. Your team should then determine who is responsible for retrieving data, shutting systems down, and resuming operations once threats are mitigated.


Efficiency and productivity data can be found in many places, including your project management software and even your employee feedback system. Task tracking software Monitask also notes that setting targets is also a great way to see what’s happening and whether or not you complete your goals on time. If you find deficiencies, consider proven ways to improve employee enthusiasm and motivation. These and other processes are the foundation of a business process management (BPM) strategy that helps you streamline your people, systems, and even vendors. This allows you to boost efficiency, particularly for tasks that do not require constant human interaction. Once you establish a BPM framework, you can monitor it for guidance on other ways to improve.

Product Development

There are many ways that data can improve your product development strategies. Start by asking your customers what problems they need solved and then look at your customer acquisition costs. If it’s more than what you make from selling, it’s time to refine your offerings.

Daily Operations

The information you pull from all of your systems can help improve your daily operations as well. One example: people counting. According to Dor, measuring your foot traffic is similar to gauging hits on a website. The more people you have coming in and out of your door, the more successful you’re likely to be if you cater to these individuals. Another area where counting people could help is in determining your operating hours. If you have more people coming in the late afternoon and early mornings, you can adjust to capture the best share of the market possible.

Workplace Culture Development

Just as important as all of the above is using data to create a comfortable working environment for your entire staff. You can use Business Innovation Management’s Generational Differences Chart to quickly and easily see the core values, attributes, work ethic, and preferred working environment of the four working generations. This info can help you adapt your workplace to get the most out of each.

Data is not information reserved only for those with deep pockets and elite status. All businesses have access to facts and figures that can help them grow, change, and adapt to their customers’ needs. The above are just a few examples, but things like cybersecurity, workplace culture development, and marketing, are crucial to your business and should serve as a reminder that numbers don’t lie.

Post authored by Gloria Martinez of womenled.org