July 5, 2012
Business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders must stay on top of business information, trends and customer behaviour to make better informed decisions. Gone are the business days when the “build it and they will come” strategies were effective. More likely than not, you need to be an entrepreneur who can pre-emptively adjust to market conditions and dynamic economic environments. Business intelligence is essentially the methods and systems of gathering and analyzing sources of information and resources to improve business. Information, methods and systems are available at everyone’s fingertips that will lead you to better strategic planning and thriving businesses.
Economic Trends – Analysis and Reporting
For a more global perspective on the economy and what is happening in industry specific areas, you will need to observe and analyze economic trends. It helps to have the ability to interpret what some of these numbers and patterns mean to your business. Census.gov is one source to inform you on economic trends and economic numbers, to give you more of a general level of information. Favourable trends across the board and you will be confident the economy is on the right track and to know consumer confidence will be there. Many business intelligence tools and data management systems can assist you to track, analyze and report, globally and at the local level.
Information from social media can be powerful sources of information for your business, if you know what you are looking for and how to tap into the correct user base on a certain platform. You can definitely see trending topics through your own basic analysis of keyword searches in social media, such as hash tag searches on Twitter, or through Pinterest. A quick search anywhere on the net will reveal various social media, business intelligence tools to track and analyze data on social media platforms. Also stayed tuned into the product reviews throughout social media platforms. Exposure to products and services information happens rapidly through social media, and with that speed you may be able to adapt and revise your mix of product and service offerings to client bases.
Often heard – Keep on eye on your competitors. A lot of groundwork may be covered by competitors as they test grounds, test marketing techniques and incorporate business intelligence methods and systems. Leaving potential tidbits for you, competitors may leave a track record of customer behavior, reviews, comments and data on the competitor’s own blog or site. If it is a local competitor, a site visit can reveal much detail on the customer service and techniques they use, the volume of visitors, and physically observing the level of interest in a product. Although you can mimic the successes of competitors analyzing data, there will be a need for you to differentiate your business from the competitors.
Acquiring Business Intelligence
If you have the resources and it fits within your strategic plan, you can acquire the business intelligence methods and systems that will give your company the lift you need. Acquiring business intelligence can occur in many ways from acquiring human resources, professionals with background and expertise in business intelligence in a certain field or business niche. Companies can acquire intact businesses that have synergies with your business or proprietary information, technology or patents that fit well with your business strategy. Short term contracted, specialists or consultants can develop new strategies and offer information from their own external business intelligence methods and systems. All forms can be advantageous in planning to be more competitive with gained external business intelligence.
Business Intelligence from your own customers
Never forget the strength of customer feedback. Customers have backgrounds in many different fields and experiences. Encourage, promote and provide incentives for customer feedback. Develop feedback mechanisms such as surveys to get honest, objective feedback from your client groups. It is important to track and analyze customer feedback data. Some of this information may reveal external information, useful in developing improved strategies. Here is a simplified example of customer feedback that can be valuable, “…liked your product, however if you added back-end extended service like your competitor ABC Corp, the experience could be better…” Feedback such as this would be your key to some business information you may not have been aware of. Tracking of data will help you to quantify and interpret customer trends, leading to improved products and services.
As noted, it has become extremely important for entrepreneurs to apply flexibility and have the ability to adapt, depending on information extrapolated from business intelligence systems. Staying on track now forms part of the core responsibilities of your organization to keep your business growing. Customers are savvy with information readily available, instantaneously at their fingers tips…. same with entrepreneurs in ensuring information is readily available through your business intelligence systems.
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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur
© 2012 Strategy Plan One