5 Steps to Gather Relevant Business Data
Not all data is relevant in all situations. As a business owner or manager you will want to gather relevant business data as one of the first steps in your journey to creating business knowledge and wisdom.
Data is one of the building blocks of knowledge and wisdom. And guess what? We are all swimming in data. The corresponding bad news is that there is so much data that we can’t analyze – or remember – all of it. This is why business owners and managers need a plan to gather relevant business data. Focusing on relevant data can help you avoid going down rabbit holes through identification of what you need.
Exactly what you will need to do to gather relevant business data will depend on your plans and goals. But to help you I have put together a few general steps you can take to gather that data so you can use it as a building block of knowledge or wisdom.
Step 1: Figure out what you want
If you don’t know what you want, you will have a very hard time getting it. So, when you are figuring out what data you should be gathering, you should first figure out your end goal(s) for that data. Figuring out the end goals will help you be able to work on Step 2.
Step 2: Identify what data you need
Once you have figured out your goals and plans for your business, you can start identifying what data will be useful or necessary and relevant for accomplishing them. This can involve some research into your plans and goals. Also consider of what data you think will help you accomplish what you want. You may come up with something new or innovative!
Step 3: Put together a plan to gather the data
Once you have determined what data you want or need you can put together a plan to gather the data. Ways that you can gather data include tracking business data like customer preferences or website analytics, or going out and finding data on your market or that relates to a new product or service that you want to offer. There are lots of ways to gather data, and which ways you should use will depend on what data you want.
Step 4: Decide how you will record and store the data
Recording the data is a step to creating knowledge and wisdom. Records mean you don’t have to rely on your memory and that the data can be accessed by others when necessary. Some records, like your website analytics, are probably going to be recorded more or less automatically. Other records you may need to figure out your record keeping methods or plans. One thing to remember is that if you are going to gather the data you should record it in a way that will help you understand and use it. Sometimes the way you record the data can play a big role in deciding how useful that data is.
Step 5: Use the data
Once you have started gathering your data (in some cases the data collection should be perpetual), and have figured out how you will record the data and implemented that plan you can start using the data. As you use the data, consider things like:
- What other data you may need or want to create a better picture of the situation?
- Are there better ways to collect the data?
- Are there better ways to store the data?
- Is it time to stop making adjustments and make a decision based on what I have?
- What else can this data tell me?
As you use the data and think about these questions (and others) you will be able to learn more about the types of data you should be collecting which should help you in identifying types of data that you will want and need in future projects.