Being an entrepreneur is no easy thing in today’s economy, yet at the same time, it is probably easier to start and grow a business now than at any other time in history. Between the internet, social media, new technologies like 3D printers, and the Maker movement, bringing a product or service to market is probably easier now than it ever has been before. The catch is, once you outgrow your beginnings, you need to have some rock-solid business skills under your belt if you hope to keep growing.
So which skills are the most important? Here are 3 business skills we think are pretty high on the list, and how a good Business Intelligence (BI) implementation can help you sharpen those skills.
- Business Planning. Business plans aren’t just for investors. Most entrepreneurs build a business plan early on in the game, often because they are looking for funding or trying to firm up their direction. But when was the last time you updated your business plan? A good business plan not only sets goals, it can also be used as a tool for allocating resources, measuring performance, and assessing growth potential. Regular review of your performance against the plans and targets laid out in the business plan can keep your efforts focused and your business growth on target. But such a performance review needn’t be a six-monthly or annual effort that takes the key players away from their day-to-day tasks for several days. In fact, with a solid BI implementation tracking your key business metrics through a customizable dashboard, you can see how you are measuring up to your business plan every single day.
- Market research. Market research isn’t just for customers you don’t have yet. Market research gives you insight into your industry, its trends, your competition, and your ideal positioning. But market research shouldn’t be limited to the customers you do not currently have. What if you could identify those key customers who drive your current operations and learn their demographics, location, and key characteristics? Once you know that, it’s easier to know exactly who you should be targeting for future sales. On the flip side of that same coin, knowing who your most costly customers are – the ones who require a huge investment on your part for very little return – can help your sales team learn to focus their efforts in the most profitable direction. Both things can be gleaned from the standard data your business collects with the help of market-focused BI analytics for SMBs.
- Flexibility and forward thinking. We all want to ride the next trend in hopes of seeing huge rewards, but it can be tough to determine if your current success is the direct result of something you did differently or just a good month. But what if every new thing you tried had measurable results…right now? No waiting until month-end to find out if sales are up, and no late nights spent trying to decipher if the current results are a gain based on the new methods, or if after adjusting for current costs and inflation, they are nothing more than the annual spring-time uptick. Measuring results over time can be tricky, especially if your business is always changing, but a robust BI system with good historical data and powerful Ad-Hoc reporting capabilities can be a game-changer when it comes to making evidence-based decisions around new policies or product offerings.
Where simpleBI and a lot of other BI solutions differ is that we have put the power of BI in our clients’ hands. We’ve done a lot of the analysis for you, but we understand that your business is dynamic and constantly changing. With customizable dashboards, advanced Ad-Hoc reporting capabilities, and an SMB-focused BI solution, simpleBI is the perfect tool to help SMB entrepreneurs grow their business even further.