Scaling for Success How to Handle Growing Data in Small Business

By 2025, the world will generate 79.4 zettabytes of data, and businesses will collect a significant part of that information. By turning this raw data into valuable insights, businesses will reap the fruits of success. On the flip side, security breaches, compliance risks, and IT troubles can also become a greater concern. 

Fortunately, you have the means to guide you from the risky edge to the safe, secure, and confident side. So here’s how you can handle growing data in your small business while scaling for success:

6 Ways to Smartly Handle Growing Data in Small Businesses

Data doesn’t just appear—it travels. It is collected, transferred, stored, and processed in different places, traveling through different access points throughout the organization. In each step, there are opportunities for data loss or unauthorized access. 

But, with these six points, you can ensure the safety of your growing data while also maximizing gains:

Define Your Data Strategy

A data strategy will be the foundation of all your data practices, like a long-term guiding plan. It’ll define the people, process, and technology you must employ for better data handling.

Here’s how you can create a solid data strategy:

  • Align your data vision with your business’s goal.
  • Identify key performance indicators (sales, customer engagement, website metrics, etc.).
  • Choose the right tools and architecture.
  • Audit existing data assets and strategies.
  • Create a data governance framework.

Creating a roadmap visualization can also help you ensure the successful execution of your data strategy. Here, using a Kanban board lets you visually represent the influx of data—thus effectively managing and delivering your data goals. 

Build a Thriving Data Culture

Handling growing data requires more than standardization and high-end tools. You’ll need to create a data culture with people who understand and uphold them. It requires you to train your team to manage business data and follow data governance policies. 

However, building a data culture takes time. It’s a gradual process that fosters key elements in your team, like data literacy, democratization, and trust. Above all, it requires a leader who champions the use of data and enables data-led growth for employee and customer success.

So, here are a few key things you should focus on when building a data culture:

  • Include data management topics when onboarding new employees.
  • Create an internal wiki containing data management information and incident response strategy.
  • Keep your team updated on the latest data policies.

Find the Right Data Storage Solution

Data is the lifeline of any business, and how you store it significantly impacts your success. The right data storage solution can prevent an IT disaster and provide backup in case of emergency.

So, find a storage solution that works for you and consider storing your data in a variety of locations, such as:

  • Laptops/Desktops
  • Networked Drives
  • External Hard Drives
  • Cloud Storage
  • Optical Storage

One clever trick is to use the 3-2-1 data storage methodology. It means following this strategic technique:

3: Store three copies of your crucial data.

2: Use two types of storage methods.

1: With one of the two stored offsite.

You’ll also need a stack of tools to store, manage, and analyze enormous data. For small businesses, a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a great starting point. However, ensure you capture and standardize all the vital customer data from all the touchpoints.

As you grow, research and test other data management solutions to slowly build a robust data infrastructure. 

Standardize Data Entry

Data inconsistencies are one of the most common data quality issues for small businesses. 

For example, you might categorize all customer email data under ‘email address.’ However, inconsistencies can arise when the data is formatted differently (when email data is added under labels ‘email’ or ‘email_address‘). 

Such inconsistencies create confusion within the organization and make it difficult to use the data across different platforms. However, fixing them manually can take up a lot of time. Plus, the data will still be open to human error.

That’s why you need to follow a consistent and standardized data entry format throughout your database—especially the essential indicators like customer success and cash flow projection

So, standardize these data entries from the get-go. Make sure your team is aware of the formatting and include it in the onboarding process so everyone is on the same page. 

Prioritize Data Protection and Security

With the majority of data residing online, data breaches and hacks can cost your business a fortune. What’s worse, a breach can tarnish your brand image and customer trust.

Most countries and industries have data protection regulations (like the US’s General Data Protection Regulation). The first step is to comply with these local protection policies. 

On top of that, create explicit protocols that sketch out proper data management and storage of confidential information. These instructions can include data retention practices, access restrictions, and policies you are using to maintain a secure environment. 

If you can, delegate the task of supervising data security to a dedicated person or team. This will ensure your business’ data security measures are consistently enforced and monitored.

Additionally, create a comprehensive incident response strategy so that your team knows what to do when the worst happens.

Use a Visual Collaboration Platform

Visual collaboration can be a game-changer for your small business’s data management process. By enhancing communication, organization, and decision-making, you can garner immense benefits with a trustworthy visual collaboration platform.

For example:

  • It can be an excellent reference for your employees to contribute and maintain data quality and consistency.
  • Your marketing team can create interactive dashboards to visualize data trends (like website traffic patterns over time). 
  • You can tailor the platform to your specific data management needs and integrate it with other tools (such as data analytics software).

And these are just a few examples. 

With a visual collaboration tool like Kanban Zone, you can manage, analyze, and share data in a dynamic and interactive way. Thus enhancing your team collaboration and streamlining the data management process—leading to more promising outcomes. 

An Ongoing Effort

Data management for small businesses is an unavoidable must. While there are tools and automation that help keep, define, and protect valuable information, you still need to conduct regular check-ins and upgrades.

However, the benefits of proper data management—informed decision-making, increased customer trust, and enhanced employee engagement, to name a few—make it a worthwhile endeavor.

This was a guest blog. Please review our guest blog disclaimer.

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