How Can Big Data Help Small Businesses Today?

How Can Big Data Help Small Businesses Today?

Many business owners, no matter how big or small their companies may be, have likely heard about Big Data, and what that massive amount of information now being harvested every day can mean for them. And while some smaller enterprises might think that it could have a negligible impact, that simply may not be the case any more.

The thing for owners to keep in mind about Big Data is how big it has become, according to a report from Forbes. By the end of 2015, it’s expected that companies will spend $16.9 billion on the industry every year, up from just $3.2 billion over the course of 2010. This may, perhaps, owe to the fact that 90 percent of all the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone, thanks to annual increases in production of that information coming to between 40 and 60 percent every 12 months. Moreover, 30 billion pieces of data are posted on Facebook every single month.

That’s, obviously, a lot for small business owners to take in, but it still may not seem as though there could be a practical application for that kind of data for companies that are intensely focused on a small set of customers or clients, but that simply might not be the case in 2013, the report said. All it might take for companies to realize the potential is to understand how they may already be participating, to some extent, in the collection of data.

Already, many small businesses are compiling data about all sorts of things directly related to their companies, more or less regardless of what they do, and in many ways, they may already be using that to some extent, the report said. For instance, suppose a pizza shop has noticed that they’re selling a lot of pepperoni pizzas lately, and thus have to buy a larger order of the meat next time they place a call to their distributors; that’s reliance on data in action, and while that may not strike them as “big,” it is nonetheless important. This can also be true of determining what regular customers like to order, seasonal changes in cash flow, customer activity, and the like. Having access to almost any amount of data can be a boon for businesses of varying sizes, and all it might take is a matter of using that information properly to help bolster a business. Many owners likely already know that this information is helpful, which means that a larger volume of it can likewise be a boon to future success.

Where the use of Big Data comes in
So while many companies are using what could be considered “small” data in their everyday operations, Big Data might be useful in many of the same ways. In fact, it likely doesn’t even have to be all that big. Using the same example of a small local pizza shop, that owner might know the particulars of how their own company works, but taking the time to learn about their competitors can also be hugely helpful. For instance, if that restaurant were charging $15 for a large pizza, but went online and found out that a competitor was charging just $12 for the same thing, that could help to inform future pricing decisions, which in turn could attract more customers.

Of course, when companies are dealing with more data, they may also be putting themselves at greater risk when it comes to data breaches. For this reason, it could be wise to take on affordable small business insurance policies such as tech insurance to help protect companies from the fallout of these incidents.