Tap House Grill
Ask many small-business owners if they’re incorporating “big data” and you may get some blank stares. Some say the growing volume of information on things like customer patterns on social media is just too costly to make sense of.
Yet that is about to change—and dramatically, says Steve King, an expert on small-business trends and a partner at Emergent Research of Lafayette, Calif. The author of the recent Intuit 2020 Report, “The New Data Democracy: How Big Data Will Revolutionize the Lives of Small Businesses and Consumers,” (view the PDF) Mr. King believes in big data as a game-changer for small business in 2014.
“There’s so much hype about ‘big data’ that it can be intimidating for the small-business owner, especially when people start talking about ‘terabytes’ of data,” he says. “Because it’s so hyped, we’re finding small-business owners saying that it’s too hard for them or it’s too expensive or ‘It’s just not for me.’ But because of that, they’re leaving big opportunities on the table.”
One of the lowest-hanging fruits is customer relations management software, or CRM systems. “You might pay just $10 or $20 a month, and it allows you to pull information on customers and their contact information and purchase history in one place,” Mr. King says.
More small businesses also will harness Google Analytics, a free tool that provides analysis of Web traffic.