Each Athena Executive Club meeting includes Business Development Training. These short sessions are designed to share useful tips, facts and ideas covering a wide range of issues relevant to executives and entrepreneurs. Athena Executive Members come from a diverse range of backgrounds with an immense wealth of knowledge and experience which we all benefit from during these member-led training sessions.
Managing data is a necessary evil for any business, but Amanda Blum showed us that it doesn’t have to be evil at all, and it might even be fun – if you do it right!
Amanda’s passion for data mixed with anthropology is an interesting combination; she believes that data analysis helps us better understand everything around us from history, science, culture and society. But how can we achieve data management (and why should we bother) for our own business?
In the digital age, data can seem complicated because it is developed and curated from so many new sources than before – think about all the data you might collect on a daily basis in emails, documents, Facebook messages, tweets and LinkedIn feeds. It can be mind boggling! But also quite powerful…
Through data, stories can be told. Trends emerge. Questions are answered. Innovation is enabled. (Did you know that 96% of businesses fail within 10 years because they don’t innovate?!)
What does your data and insights strategy look like?
If it doesn’t even exist, you should read on!
1. Data Management Principles
- Ask yourself (and your colleagues / team) what data do you currently collect? (Think about all sources such as business cards, bank payments, orders, event bookings etc)
- What information would you like to be collecting from your customers and why? How would it benefit your business?
- How are you currently collecting data? Which channels offer the best process?
- Where is the data stored once you have collected it?
- How many people have access to the ‘master’ data? This can be a risk factor if multiple people are updating it without any systemised approach. Agree a data collection process with your entire team!
- How is the data cleaned? How do you ensure there are no duplicates or anything missing?
- Starting with a simple Excel spreadsheet can help small businesses manage their data effectively and allows you to perform some basic analysis.
2. Systemise for Scaling
- Even in the early days of your business consider investing in a CRM. It will save you a lot of headaches when your business grows and will enable you to automate many of the key data collection and processing tasks.
- A CRM also helps with quality management by keeping data clean and safe and enabling you to focus on your core business.
3. Maximise through Analysis
- This can be the difference between a small business doing well and a really successful enterprise!
- What does your data tell you? Do you know your best selling product/service? Do you know where your best customers are located, which campaign they responded to and what their average spend is? These are the kinds of details a CRM and analytics can help you with.
Even if you think you are too small now to worry about data – don’t let it surprise you later down the line. Even the smallest changes to your data collection and analysis, can have a positive impact in the future.
Amanda comes from an anthropology and mathematics background and found a way to merge the two through data analysis – where she uses math to crunch the numbers and anthropology to tell the story.
Amanda started her professional career salvaging artefacts and writing interpretive content for a museum in the USA.
Later she migrated back to the UK, co-launching Athena groups alongside Gina – helping design and manage operational processes.
She then moved into management and data analysis within the non-profit sector, falling in love with the framework of leading teams through clear objectives, collective vision and data lead innovations.
She is a person addicted to generating ideas and finding better, more efficient ways of doing things. She has a real interest in processes and behavioural trends how these things affect the human experience and society.