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Long gone are the days when entrepreneurs and business leaders were forced to make key decisions based on their instincts. That’s not to say you won’t be forced to make guesses and assumptions about the right next step for your business or brand, but in today’s world, there’s no reason you should. don’t rely on data to guide you either. you in making those decisions.

When it comes time to make the next critical decision for your business, the importance of the data you use – as well as the amount of it – lies both in its consistency and its continued growth throughout the history of the data cycle. life of your business. By using the right data to help you in your decision-making process, you can create new opportunities for your business that can generate additional revenue. Data can even predict future trends for your business and its customers while optimizing your current operations.

However, using the right datasets is easier said than done. You should use data that provides actionable insights and is collected through the best tools available.

Related: Best ways to use data to make decisions

Identify the data you need to answer critical questions

Being able to identify and analyze the right data in your decision-making process is paramount to understanding what actions – or types of actions – can lead to creating the greatest impact and traction you want your business to have. company has. For example, sending surveys to each of your customers after a sale is made or lost can help generate valuable insights into each customer’s unique journey as they interact with your brand. This information will help you improve to increase your sales volume or number of orders.

Whatever your reasoning for using data in your decision-making process, the first step is to focus on the most important data sets for that process. Additionally, the data or sets of data you identify at the start of this process should still be able to produce insights to help you answer any questions you may have about how your business can be changed or improved through specific concrete initiatives.

By deciding on your business goals and keeping in mind the key questions you want to answer, you can then be better prepared to research the right kind of data you will need to achieve your goals. As you begin to identify these datasets, it’s equally important to remember not to get bogged down in analysis paralysis by collecting more data that won’t be as useful in answering your questions or to take decisions. For example, if you are looking to identify data that may increase manufacturing quantities of a specific product created by your company, including and analyzing data related to your company’s marketing initiatives may not be as relevant. or useful in this process.

Related: Good decision-making requires good data

Make sure you have the right tools for data collection and analysis

For any form of data analysis to be beneficial to your business, you need to understand if the tools at your disposal are the best ones to use for the tasks you need. After all, no one wants to spend time collecting volumes of data, only to find they’ve used the wrong tools or technologies to analyze it.

As such, you need to use the right tool(s) to collect the specific data points you need to help you make the best decisions for your business. Start by asking yourself if the tools and technologies currently available can help you meet or exceed your goals or objectives. Likewise, if you realize that you don’t have the right tools to help you collect and analyze your internal data, you’ll need to find those that will be able to perform these actions.

For example, if you’re looking to collect and analyze data on how to improve the quality of the products your business sells, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools, like Salesforce, Marketo, or even media websites. social media like Facebook. , Instagram and YouTube.

Again, don’t waste time collecting additional data that doesn’t answer your key questions or provide you with actionable insights. Without a systematic approach to collecting and strategically managing data, you risk ending up with data saturation that will only further hamper your decision-making process.

Related: How to use real-time data to refine your business decisions

Use the right data to drive your business growth

The overarching goal of data collection and analysis in your decision-making process should be to provide answers that you can use to support your business growth. Whether it comes from converting more of your target market into paying customers for additional revenue or simply predicting certain trends your business may adopt ahead of competitors, all relevant data you collect and analyze should be able to translate into strategic initiatives. For growth.

After clarifying what data is needed and reaffirming that you have the best tools to collect and analyze that data, you should engage other leaders or key decision makers within your organization to get their views and ideas on how best to use this data. used to stimulate growth. Bringing these people together and asking them what data is most important to their departments and teams can spark additional conversations to help you make crucial decisions for your business. Additionally, some of these leaders may provide information that others within your organization may not have.

Having enough data to help you make effective decisions for your business is paramount, but having the right tools to collect the right data from the right sources is invaluable.