Small Business, Big Data: The Importance of Data Science in Starting a Business


Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of research in the development of a new business, but few recognize that the result of that research is incredibly precious. Not only does your research inform your starting strategy, but used properly, data can guide all aspects of your business, from marketing to digital security.

In fact, data science could easily be the most valuable tool entrepreneurs can use as they begin to develop their business ideas. Within the past few decades, datapreneurs ― as entrepreneurs who rely on data science have come to be known ― have made it big, creating successful business analytics firms like SAS, software engineering companies like Hortonworks, and even wildly successful multinational tech companies like Google.

Only recently has the miracle of data science seeped into businesses that aren’t closely affiliated with tech, and the opportunities are astounding. By learning about and applying data science, you can boost your business in the following ways:

Understanding an Audience

People generate untenable amounts of data every day. Thanks to social media, it is possible to collect information on core demographics to better understand what your target audience needs, wants, and likes. With this data, you can augment your products and services, modify your sales tactics, or revolutionize your customer experience to better appeal to your core demographics.

However, before you can access this information, you need to learn how to become a data scientist. Few social sites have built-in tools to help business owners understand the data they need. A datapreneur knows how to observe and quantify behaviors to be more effective in business.

Assessing Competition

A comprehensive market analysis is easily one of the most important documents an entrepreneur should generate before launching a new business endeavor, and arguably the most vital element is the competitive analysis, which evaluates potential competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, a competitive analysis is not easy to compile ― unless you are a data scientist.

Through your understanding of data science, you will know which competitors are important to examine closely, which competitors must be limited and controlled, which metrics to pay attention to, and which to ignore. Especially in the midst of a market analysis, it is easy to get bogged down in data while researching your competition, so having a foundation in data science is incredibly useful.

Developing Marketing Campaigns

Though marketing might seem like a more creative branch of business, successful marketing requires a commitment to data. Not all marketing campaigns are successful, and data scientists can pull apart the numbers to understand what went wrong ― and what went right, despite the overall outcome.

Due to the steep competition in most markets, modern entrepreneurs absolutely rely on marketing to reach and retain their audience, which means you need to understand data to survive at least the first few years of business.

Providing Customer Service

Good customer service is what keeps businesses alive. Customers will remember superior treatment and reward you for it ― but the only way to know that your customer service is making a difference is by analyzing the data.
A skilled data scientist can pull apart trends to understand how certain customer services are impacting the stability of a business.

For example, an abundance of loyal customers might show you are doing something right, while declining numbers of one-time customers clearly shows your service leaves something to be desired. However, it requires a keen eye and excellent software to detect subtle changes before they become business-ruining problems.

Optimizing Logistics

Distribution is a vital element of modern business, and ensuring your operations are at peak efficiency falls into the realm of data science. Logistics companies like UPS and FedEx boast entire data science departments to optimize their businesses, and you can do the same as a datapreneur. Receiving products from manufacturers and delivering them to customers should be fast and painless, and by analyzing and applying data, you can make it so.

Evaluating Security

Security is becoming increasingly important to small businesses as opportunities for theft grow. As the home for your data, your computers and network should be surveilled for threats constantly, and once again data science can be of use.

The key is distinguishing between dangerous activity and normal digital behavior of customers and employees. Entrenched in the field of cybersecurity, data scientists can develop models that will monitor malicious activity and predict impending attacks, keeping businesses safer.

Jackie Roberson is a content coordinator and contributor who creates quality articles for topics like technology, home life, and education. She studied business management and is continually building positive relationships with other publishers and the Internet community.