Small Businesses Need Big Data, Too

If you run a small or medium-size business, chances are you haven’t felt a need to invest in extensive customer data, relying instead on your well-honed intuition to help you hold your own against data-rich, bigger competitors. A lot of small-firm owners and managers feel that way, and in many cases they’re justifiably proud of their competitive intangibles—a gut sense of the market and the flexibility to change quickly.

What you may not realize is that investing in data and learning how to use it might be transformative for your business. In research we conducted with Gillian Armstrong of the University of Ulster and Andrew Fearne of the University of Kent, we found not only that small businesses benefited from the precision offered by customer data, but also that exposure to data encouraged owner-managers to share insights with employees and get them involved in companies’ competitive thinking.

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