Is your small business maximizing the many benefits of big data? If not, you may be missing out on an incredible opportunity to bolster growth and overall profitability. In fact, some estimates indicate that as much as 60 percent of retailers’ profits worldwide may be attributed to the use of big data and related analytics. In some instances, the successful use of big data may make or break the long-term success and viability of some small businesses.

As a small business owner, you may assume that big data is outside of your reach. After all, you may lack the infrastructure to maintain a huge analytical department for market research, and you may believe that accessing this data would be cost-prohibitive. The good news is that the Internet provides you with exceptional resources that can be used to easily gather the data that you need. Some resources are affordable or even free to use. More than that, the data may already be in a usable, easy-to-digest form. If not, it may be easier to analyze raw data than you might think.

With a closer look at how big data can help your small business, you may be ready to make positive improvements to your operations.

How Big Data Helps Small Businesses Grow and Profit

You can see that big data is more attainable than ever before thanks to its affordability and accessibility. More than that, big data may be useful for all types of small businesses regardless of the industry that you work in. It provides you with more information about the competition, your customers, pricing and more, and this data can be used in numerous ways effectively.

You may think that your small business would need to pay a fortune for access to helpful data and for assistance analyzing that date. However, some platforms provide this information to you at no cost. Google Analytics is a free website traffic monitoring tool that you can access at any time, and it is just one of numerous resources that you can rely on for accurate, detailed data and thorough analysis.

These are some of the many ways that your small business could benefit through the use of big data regardless of your industry.

Improved Decision-Making

In order to make smart business decisions, you must have access to clear, accurate information. Without this data, you are forced to base important decisions on hypotheses. Through rapid machine-learning that is increasingly and more readily available thanks to improving technologies, you can gather all of the details that you need in a timely manner. Therefore, in addition to making smart, informed decisions, you are able to make faster decisions. The ability to respond to market conditions in various ways may present the opportunity to be at the forefront of your industry and to profit more substantially from different opportunities.

The Enhanced Ability to Follow Market Trends

When small businesses like yours lack access to big data, they are forced to monitor the market over a lengthy period of time. They also must make hypotheses about market trends, consumer wants and needs and more. It can take a considerable amount of time and energy to monitor market trends in this type of manual way. Through big data collection and analysis, today’s small businesses can improve their ability to follow market trends while also saving valuable internal resources. Small businesses often have minimal resources, so the ability to conserve these resources while gathering potentially more accurate and timely data is invaluable.

Improved Collaboration and Teamwork

Big data also extends to cloud computing. As your small business grows, different members of your team may need to access the raw data that you have collected as well as to analytical reports and other valuable information. More than that, you may need to collect and share data that has been gathered over time so that trends can be identified. Through cloud computing, you can more easily collaborate with your team and ensure that everyone has access to the files that they need without delay.

The Ability to Save Money Through Focus

You understandably need your marketing efforts to be direct and effective. You also need your products or services to be beneficial and desired in the market. Without solid analytics, your small business may waste a considerable amount of money trying to find a marketing approach that is effective. Likewise, it may need to adjust various products and services so that they are most desirable to customers. The introduction of new products and services may also require a trial-and-error approach. On the other hand, when big data is used, you can carefully research the market to determine which approaches, products and services may be most beneficial and profitable overall before proceeding with a full-scale launch. This saves money as well as time.

A Precisely Defined Target Audience

You might have a reasonable idea about who your target audience is, but you may currently guess about specific and defining factors. For example, you may know that your target audience is young adults who live in a defined geographic area and that have income within a typical range. However, you may not know what makes them tick, how they use your products, why they choose your products over the competition and what they are hoping for in an improved product. Big data can be used to more specifically define your target audience and to tell you more about their needs and wants.

Final Word

You can see that smart, effective use of big data and related analytics is essential to the overall profitability and success of small businesses. When used intelligently, big data can place your business at a distinct advantage. On the other hand, when your business is not taking advantage of this exceptional resource, growth and profitability may be stymied. Now is the time to analyze your company’s current use of big data and to determine if you could be doing more to gather and use this information in the most beneficial ways possible.

BIO: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters