Fluidly chief executive Caroline Plumb outlines the business benefits of having a strong analysis capability available to your team.
When you think about what it takes to run a business, a few things tend to spring to mind – leadership, a willingness to take risks, a fantastic idea (or a take on an existing idea), passion and drive. But these elements are just one side of running a company. There’s also the need for real problem solving, often on a daily (or even hourly) basis, especially in the early days.
In growing companies, business and data analyst or strategy roles are commonplace. However, when you’re trying to keep lean, they can get overlooked, which can be a real mistake. From saving you money, to connecting you better to your customers – there are so many reasons why it pays to invest in business analysis, whether that’s hiring someone in this area or refining your own skill set.
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Solve problems more efficiently
Analytical thinking requires being able to look at a problem and present the most effective solutions. Not only does good analysis present suitable answers, it can also help to unearth the real needs of a business at any given time.
Often it’s easy to get too focused on one small part of a deemed-issue, when actually there’s another wider problem that needs evaluating first. For instance, you’re struggling with your pricing points and getting them to stick, but objective critical analysis shows it boils down to a misalignment in who your customer actually is (and therefore how much they’re willing to spend). Good analysis really helps stop wasted hours looking in the wrong direction.
Lead with confidence during a crisis
As if businesses aren’t dealt enough obstacles normally, clearly at the moment we’re in the midst of a bigger problem than anyone could have possibly foreseen. And in a crisis, good analytical skills are crucial.
During the pandemic we’ve been bombarded with information, often conflicting, so being able to evaluate what is true and important is essential to survival.
Finding a way to navigate the noise will give you the confidence to lead with a clear strategy. Plus you can get an accurate picture of where you are now, following setbacks, staff changes etc. and what that might mean for the future.
Never has the need to save cash felt more pressing for business owners, and you may not feel able to spend out on additional resources or software. However, the cost of investing in proper analysis can be far outweighed by the results.
Good data analysis can show you both where you’re overspending and if there are areas that need more finance, which in turn can help you make effective operational and production cost cuts.
This is one of those cases where investing a bit (either in resource or time) can really make a difference to your bottom line.
Know your customers better
Finally, there’s nothing that analysis does better than help you understand your positioning in the market – and how suitable your offering is. Whether it’s getting insights on current trends in your space, competitor analysis, or investigating buying patterns of your product or offering so far. Your business is only ever going to flourish if you give your customer what it really wants.
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Caroline Plumb is a contributor for AAT's member's magazine, AT.