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Using Data to Enhance Business Strategy and Success

Using Data to Enhance Business Strategy and Success

The rapid development of local, regional, and global markets means that businesses must evolve agile strategies that can keep up. An essential part of choosing strategies revolves around collecting, analyzing, and understanding data. The following tools can help companies improve their interpretation and presentation of data—which will allow them to make informed choices and create effective strategies that help them reach goals, serve customers, and enjoy long-term success.

Mind Mapping

Rather than presenting ideas in a text-based, sequential format like a spreadsheet or outline, mind mapping allows businesses to visually portray the relationship of numerous interconnected concepts and annotate the picture with notes, highlights, and graphics.

Mind maps support a variety of strategic planning tactics, including SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analyses, the 4 P’s of marketing, and growth-share mapping. Mind maps work well in team environments for the kind of brainstorming and planning that lead to innovation and growth.

Data Visualization

Even small business have access to mountains of data that contain valuable information about performance and trends. However, making sense of all of it can seem almost impossible, especially when using conventional methods such as spreadsheets.

According to Orbit Analytics, you should think of data visualizations as writing a book where you need to ask yourself the point you’re trying to make and how you can best structure it using the numbers your company has. Data visualization will help you deliver this narrative. Data visualization tools do the heavy lifting in modern analytics. By creating a graphic representation of data collected from multiple sources, these tools empower business owners and managers to easily interpret their data.

Why Analysis

Sometimes, failing to understand a problem renders problem-solving strategies ineffective. By asking the simple question, “Why?”, five times, business owners and managers can identify the root cause of a problem and improve their chance for identifying an appropriate solution.

A “Why?” Analysis requires no technology aside from pencils and paper and any relevant supporting data. For example, a company might start this process by asking “Why are sales declining?” Afterward, they can identify a sub-par sales staff, a lack of training, an overloaded sales manager, and too many outstanding customer issues. In the end, the company may discover that a lack of a coherent post-sale service process is ultimately responsible.

Forecasting

Businesses need ways to anticipate future requirements for cash, inventory, and human resources. When properly equipped, they can address issues with finances, logistics, and recruiting before shortages catch them by surprise.

Fortunately, many available business tools that include CRM, accounting, project management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) can help companies accurately predict their needs and thereby lay a solid foundation for continued success.

In summary, businesses can enhance their strategy and promote their success by equipping themselves with some essential tools. Of course, the successful acquisition and use of these tools depends on the accurate assessment of present and future needs.

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by Eileen O'Shanassy // Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter: @eileenoshanassy.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.