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Small business and big data

Among the advancement of innovative technology for the consumer and the potential for increased business, ‘Big data` is a great opportunity that is already exploring markets in both consumer and corporate industries. While there is a wealth of data available to the public domain, most discussion focuses on its application to corporations with the financial power to capture and exploit them.

What position does that leave small businesses that strive for success and growth in competitive markets? Although success certainly depends on the individual company and its ability to seize the opportunity, Big Data is not just for big companies. In fact, it is an area of modern technological development that can be used by any company regardless of its size, thanks to the various cloud hosting solutions that exist in the market.

• The role of social networks

One of the biggest contributors to the growing volumes of data that companies are trying to understand is social media, according to a recent study by eMarketer. An important factor is that 7 out of 10 of European users participate in social networks, making this their primary online activity. The obstacle facing SMEs is how to harness this data and apply them in their business operations to expand their businesses.

1.5 billion people worldwide use social media actively and so it is crucial that SMEs resort to the opinions that consumers can offer. Different businesses can benefit from the information circulating and being captured via social media, including retail. They can use aspects such as demographics, trends and by “listening” to what consumers are saying – to be at the forefront of a changing market and leading consumer preferences.

• Find what’s important to you

Managing data growth is just the beginning for SMEs. However, having never handled such volumes of data, SMEs need to be able to identify the most important and relevant information for business growth; effectively, to deepen it.

Therefore, effective social platforms need online analysis, which examines trends, habits and discussions. This is crucial in SMEs to have the data they are collecting through social networks. To hear what is being said can identify the gaps and blanks in different markets, as well as areas that can be developed further. This means that companies can meet the demand of consumers. This information may also allow SMEs to build a brand with the right audience, market their services effectively and address the complaints and customer inquiries more quickly.

To access data on the habits of consumers, to the discussions and demographics of a particular market, SMEs can shape their offerings to match market demand and to shape the future of their businesses to be more tailored, reacting and interacting with the right people.

Big changes are being made to ensure that the benefits of Big data is more accessible to small businesses. With this wealth of information, the issue for SMEs should be not about the access to these, but to have opportunities, development and the appropriate requirements for the industry in which they are operating. Once this is established, the thing SMEs need is to address the business needs that have been targeted by consumers, who will then guide the company in the right direction. This essentially leads on to the growth of your business.

The evolving nature of technology and communication, the constant changes in trends and huge potential therein, means that Big data is an opportunity not to be passed up on by SME`s. With such unlimited reach, everyone should be taking their first steps towards this huge prospect.

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