How Data Helps You Make Choices: A Business Case for Numbers
When you’re running a business, or even merely making decisions on behalf of a business as a manager or executive, you need to have one eye on your reasoning at all times. At some point you’re going to have to stand up and explain the decisions you’ve taken, be it to investors or shareholders, board members, senior managers or perhaps most importantly the very employees who are going to have to work hard to put into practice whatever decision you’ve come to.
In the event of a failure you’re going to have to be able to explain clearly what brought you to this point. If your superiors come to the conclusion that you’ve spent money, resources and the brand’s reputation for no return, all for no good reason, you may find yourself under threat of being replaced. If you’re standing up in front of your employees asking them to change their working practices or put in extra hours and you can’t explain why you’re asking them to do it, then morale is going to be a problem in your near future.
What you need is a foundation of good decision-making practice to build on and fall back on when called to account. What you need is to make your decisions based on hard data, so when you have to explain why you’ve come to any particular conclusion, you can point to the data and show clearly what inspired you.
Some data gathering you can do yourself: knowing the capacity of the teams working for you is vital, so establishing a baseline for how much they can achieve in a day should be the aim of constant data gathering, and finding ways to raise this through automation is a cheaper alternative to hiring. Another internal data point you need to track are complaints or refunds: a spike in dissatisfied customers could be a vital early warning sign for deep structural issues you need to address.
Beyond the scope of your company, though, you’re going to need help. If you’re surveying customers, the most interesting answers are the ones that come from people who haven’t chosen your business yet, the very people you don’t have easy access to. Partnering with a market research company is your path to these answers, to this vital data. Click here for more information about working with market research firms.
Once you have this data coming in, you can use it increasingly to guide your decisions and not just make better ones, but show your clear reasoning for how you’re chasing success to make meetings a piece of cake.