Would your home Internet business benefit from a tool that gave it an advantage over the competition?
Then perhaps it’s time to take a look at using business intelligence (BI) to give your home business a boost.
But just what is business intelligence and how can you use it to benefit your home Internet business?
What is Business Intelligence and Why Does it Matter?
Business intelligence is a catch-all phrase that covers both the methods and technology used to gather and analyze information so you can make more informed business decisions.
Business intelligence tools are used to pull together the information and present it in the form of charts or reports that you can analyze. Business intelligence can be used to give you a competitive advantage, increased revenues, better customer satisfaction, and a smoother operation.
As the article “Is Business Intelligence a “Force” to be Reckoned with?” points out, business intelligence gives you the tools you need to decide on the best course of action for your business.
For example, you could gather information from several sources and pull it all together to give you a clearer picture of which products are most popular with which customers. You can then target those customers with the products they most want, increasing the chances of a sale.
It’s clear that business intelligence can give your business a valuable boost, but how can you get the best results?
Four Steps to Make the Most of Business Intelligence
Making the most of business intelligence boils down to four key steps:
1. Ask the right questions – If you want a helpful answer, you need to ask the right question. Before going any further with business intelligence, make sure you know what it is you’re trying to find out. Are you looking at sales? Web traffic? Customer satisfaction? Business operations? Get it clear in your mind so you can choose the right tool and input the right information. Think about what information you’re going to need to answer your question, and where you will source that information (for example web analytics, click through rates, email open rates or social media stats).
2. Choose the right tool – There are several business intelligence tools available that are suited to small home-based businesses. When shopping around, make sure you choose a tool that is designed to be user friendly and accessible. Keep in mind the kind of questions you want answered, so you can choose a tool that you know is capable of answering them. Finally, why not check out Cloud-based business intelligence tools? Cloud-based tools remove the worry of needing to install and understand the software, leaving you free to focus on the results.
3. Monitor your data quality – No matter how good your business intelligence tool, it’s still only as good as the data you give it. Before using your tool to analyze your data, do a thorough review of the data you’re using. Look at where it’s sourced, and what the quality of it is like. For example, if you’re using information from a customer database, do make sure you’re not feeding in duplicated or incomplete entries. Bad data will skew your results and prevent you from getting a true picture.
4. Review your results – So, you’ve asked your question, picked the best quality data, and fed it into your business intelligence tool. By now you should have information you can use to make decisions about your business. But having the information won’t help if you don’t review your results. Once you’ve implemented decisions, go back and review how well they worked out. Business intelligence isn’t a one off event – it’s an ongoing project that will keep your business on point now and in the future.
Business intelligence is no longer the province of multi-nationals.
Implement business intelligence in your home Internet business today and watch your business go from strength to strength.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, social media and how to measure online engagement.