Automation, mobility and big data are key drivers to help small businesses grow and thrive. Pic: Pixabay

Growth hacks: Data, automation and mobility for SMEs and startups

LARGE enterprises have long established their presence in terms of data science, business intelligence and complex data. The same businesses also have more resources invested in automation and mobility.

But recently, startups and small businesses have become increasingly capable of managing their own data-driven initiatives, especially now that enterprise-grade solutions are becoming more accessible with a reduced barrier to entry.

The clear advantage is that small businesses are more agile – they are receptive and proactive in terms of leveraging the benefits offered by business intelligence.

SEE ALSO: Three trends that make business intelligence easier for small enterprises

We will explore key concepts that small to medium businesses should look into, in order to scale, gain traction, and compete better.

Big data lets you innovate

Marketing strategies require complex insight into customer preferences and behavior. It also requires gaining a deep level of familiarity within your industry and even with your competitors. This used to be a challenge for small businesses, according to the Harvard Business Review, because they are oft unaware that data-driven BI is becoming more affordable.

Many small businesses therefore have done what everyone else is doing: entrepreneurs would copy business models and look to success stories for inspiration. While this is an acceptable strategy, it will get you nowhere in today’s competitive business environment. Rather, the drive for innovation will be the catalyst for success.

Entrepreneurs must work to come up with creative ways to push their businesses forward

Entrepreneurs must work to come up with creative ways to push their businesses forward

Here, data will play a big part in pointing you to the right direction. Data that involves pricing analytics, social sentiment, customer behavior, and a host of other factors can help paint a better picture of how a business should be. Prior to the current tech, it could take weeks to prep and analyze data, but with modern BI tools, you can take terabytes of data and find meaningful relationships, interactions and causalities within minutes.

Marketing automation simplifies your workflow

Data should not simply exist in and by itself. For small businesses, practical applications play a more important part in the bigger picture – so the best way to utilize big data is to automate business processes.

Big data plays a huge part in machine learning; digital platforms can easily learn workflows, sales lifecycles, customer outreach, and the like.

SEE ALSO: Four tools for boosting leads and conversions through marketing automation

The key here is to find a platform that lets you automate tedious parts of the business operations. This includes activities like generating leads from social networks, qualifying them, and automatically carrying out the outreach.

A good marketing automation platform will also be able to customize communication or offers depending on the preference of each customer. Such a targeted campaign can help win over more conversions, leading to sales and higher profits.

Mobility empowers people with better collaboration

A particularly popular trend in enterprise collaboration today involves mobility, brought about by the rapid rise in smartphone utilization and deployment of fast and cheap mobile broadband networks.

Mobility empowers organizations to become more collaborative amid an increasingly distributed work environment. Businesses can easily adopt collaborative apps that enable team members to communicate in real-time without being tethered to a desk or even a laptop computer. According to studies, allowing employees to telecommute and to use their own devices can result in significant productivity gains.

The takeaway

For a small business, being at the bleeding edge of technology might come with some cost. But smart initiatives in data, automation and mobile technologies can help boost productivity, enhance visibility and make better data-driven decisions, which can help with gaining traction and scaling your business.