If you’re wondering how to grow your business or whether it’s time to pivot, it would be really easy for me to say “figure out what’s working and do more of that.” But telling you to do that without telling you how to use data to figure it out would be doing you a disservice.
So, we’re going to talk about just how you go about using the data your business generates to figure out whether you should be doing more of what you’re doing or pivoting to try something new.
Here are 4 ways to use data to determine what’s working in your business:
1. Put your data to work for you
Sometimes it’s easy to think we know everything we know about our business because we’re there working every day. Just like when we talked about how to use data to get to know your audience, you can also use it to inform other areas of your business.
- fiscal data shows you what is making you money and what’s costing you
- website data shows you which traffic sources are working, and what visitors are doing on your site
- social media data shows you which of your posts attracts audience engagement
Are you getting the idea?
Once you have this data, then it’s much easier to figure out what’s working and do more of it. It’s also easier to let go of the things that aren’t working.
2. Use data to determine your rate of growth
If you don’t already have a growth plan for your business, you really should. You need to set goals and take action on them as part of your plan. Using the data you collect can help you determine how well you are achieving those goals. Consider things like product creations, sales increases and/or decreases, and the effects of your marketing efforts when determining whether you are meeting the targets you set for your business growth.
3. Use your data as a starting point
Once you have data in hand, it’s time to use that to determine your next directions. It’s much easier to do it with numbers in hand, rather than try to rely on your “gut feelings” alone. As I mentioned in this article, don’t ignore your gut feelings, but do use data to back up what your instincts are telling you.
For example, you may think that your customers love one type of product over another and so you keep making more of that. But, when you look at the data, you see that it’s really the product line you’re not focused on that is bringing in most of your sales.
Knowing what’s working, would you keep on making the products you think your customer like, or would you start making more of the products you know they are buying?
When you have the data in hand, you have the ability to make better informed decisions, not only on product creation, but marketing and advertising as well.
4. Stay away from the shiny objects
Sometimes I wish shiny objects came with something like that car alarm that said “step away from the car.” (Yes, I’m giving away my age with that one.) But seriously, wouldn’t it be handy if a little voice popped out of your computer every time you looked at a shiny object and said, “step away from the shiny object.”
It’s hard to do when you’re constantly being told that this thing and that thing are the things you need to really be successful.
That’s where your data comes in. It will show you what’s working. It will show you where you need to make changes. Do more of what works. Do less of what doesn’t. Only try something new if it makes sense for your business. Other than that, step away from the shiny objects.
Your business is not the same as anyone else’s business. And what works for them, might not resonate with your audience. Use data that you’ve collected for your own business to inform your decisions, and you’ll be a lot closer to being a business that succeeds rather than one of the many that don’t.
This is Part 1 of a 5-part series on Doing More of What Works. Other posts in this series include:
- 4 Ways to Use Data to Determine What’s Working Now (This article)
- Using Data to Determine What’s Working on Your Website
- Do More of What Works by Optimizing Keywords
- 3 Ways to Expand on Content That Works
- 4 Tips for Doing More with Social Media Content that Works