My Talk On Nigeria Info 99.3 On How Small Businesses Can Leverage Data

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Yesterday was the day. And I almost turned it into a community event as I asked a lot of people for help. And today, I will be reporting the result. 

It went better than I expected. The host was impressed, everyone I asked to tune in and who gave me feedback said I did excellently and I got a business deal there. You can listen to the audio recording here: Radio Interview

The bulk of the advice I got was that I should not sound too techy. That I should speak at a level everyone listening can connect with and benefit from. And the practical implication of it was that I couldn't talk big data. I even had to use a very weak definition of it. So I focused more on data.

I told them that data is everything you can measure. Your height. Your age. Your sales number. Everything you can measure is data. And that translates to everything you can gather -- even people's opinions are data. And that we all do some form of data analysis already. Your decision that set up your business in Lagos and not in your home town is because you have run the numbers in your head. You considered Lagos with its huge population a better market than your home town even though it's a lot easier to set up in your home town. That is a data driven decision. And you are constantly making such data driven decisions in your business already. You know what what product to have more of in your store and the one to have very little of -- inventory management -- because you have done the data analysis, even if it was just in your head.

I then went on to say that my aim is to help them put a structure to that data analysis they already do and to show them more ways they can profitably use data. When you are starting a business alone and with a little funding, you can afford to do the numbers in your head and not make any big error. But when you are starting with a considerable sum of money and possibly borrowed money, you have to use a standard and structured way of doing your analysis -- from market data research to your sales data. You have to take your business data more seriously. And this applies if you are serious about growing, even if you started very small and did all your analysis in your head.

Your business data journey begins the very day you come up with your business idea. You begin asking friends for their opinions and you begin gathering relevant information about what you want to do. Including possible market size and where to situate the business. You are already working with data. Then you start the business and you have to deal with sales data. Then, inventory data. And as your business expands, you need to manage your customer data. 

So every business needs to, at least, have in place a structured way of doing their 
  1. Sales Management
  2. Inventory Management
  3. Customer Relationship Management
When you have that in place, you can easily travel for a long vacation and business will not crumble. That is one of the benefits of having a standardized mechanism of doing your important business data analysis rather doing head-run analysis. The next benefit is that as your business grows the data analysis becomes larger than what you can run in your head and some business insights will only come to you via having these structured mechanisms in place. And most importantly, recorded data has no substitute. A bank is not going to give you loan if all you have is stories of how well you doing and how fast business is growing . They will need the data -- facts and figures.

Then you should go more creative. (Actually, this is where big data applies more). Get on social media. Look through demographic data and several online accessible huge data repositories. Let some business insights jump at you. Do some big data analysis to find patterns that even your competitors know nothing about. Just as Amazon will suggest things to buy to you, intelligently. Do something similar in your business. Be more business creative and proactive. Use all the data you have and can get.

Once again, you can listen to it here: Radio Interview


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