Vladimir Fedak

@FedakV

Big Data: Becoming data-driven helps startups succeed and scale

November 2nd 2017

A startup needs a good idea, a great team, a decent funding and an eager audience to succeed and scale. A data-driven startup has all these things covered. Wanna know how?

It’s actually quite simple. In our recent series about the companies that succeeded in implementing Big Data solutions (here are part 1 and part 2 for a quick recap), we explained how embracing Big Data helped them secure their bottom line. However, all of the companies in the list were huge market players, industry leaders and transnational corporations.

Many entrepreneurs might come to an assumption using Big Data is for big companies only, which is actually one of the most popular 5 Big Data myths we have recently demystified. This is utterly wrong, and today we will show you how becoming data-driven helps startups succeed and scale. There is another point to consider: any startup should work under the assumption their competitors are already using their Big Data.

See also: You should use Big Data before your competitors do

The real question is: do you use your Big Data more efficiently than your competition?

Data-driven approach: don’t invest fortunes, simply use what you have

While the very first startups were run using MS Office tools, hot hearts and cold minds of their founders, the range of tools available for modern startups has grown significantly, and new ones are added daily. There are numerous lists of great tools for emailing, accounting, CRM systems, logistics and management and a plethora of other software solutions. The point is that by the moment the startup team begins to think of using Big Data for empowering their operations they already have quite a few other systems in place. These systems are a great source of information for Big Data analytics, should they be used as the sources of incoming data.

Thus said, the Big Data management and analysis tools should be rather modular and able to utilize the infrastructure and software ecosystem already in place, rather than demanding a complete overhaul of the established business practices.

We listed 4 components of success for startups:

  • A good idea
  • A great team
  • A decent funding
  • An eager audience

Here is how Big Data helps keep all of these components in check.

  • A good idea can be floating around, yet it is worth nothing until properly implemented. To be successful the startup should offer a product or service that people demand and search over the Internet — and have a highly memorable title. Google offers troves of data analytics through their free Keyword planner and Google analytics tools, alongside paid services from Google cloud. AWS and Microsoft Azure have also got appropriate services in place, so every startup can get a grasp of current market trends.
  • A great team is the one built of enthusiasts who love the idea, not only work for a paycheck. Pep talks are good for starters, but to keep the spirit high at all times a thoughtful entrepreneur should be keeping a close eye on what their staff is up to, what they say over the social media and if their expectations are met — or are they preparing to leave for greener pastures. Various Big Data analytics tools allow aggregate such data and visualize the current situation in an easy to grasp manner. It is the team that makes or breaks the project, after all — and technology simply helps keep the mood high.
  • A decent funding is needed to achieve the goals. Investors tend to trust their money to well-grounded projects, providing an interesting idea, a working MVP and optimistic growth promises, backed by serious analytical data. Due to this, having detailed statistics on the audience engagement with your product or service, knowing what people say on social media and if they recommend your brand to their friends and family — all of this helps a ton to deliver a powerful vision and secure the next round of investments.
  • An eager audience is the most crucial asset of a startup, as the product nobody is interested in is least likely to succeed. Analysis of your target audience helps reveal the way they behave on the social media, what they say of your brand, what are their shopping and browsing habits. All of this helps deliver personalized ads that pop up exactly when and where there is the best chance to seal the deal. Keeping your target audience engaged and satisfied is the best way to reach word of mouth advocacy for the brand. There are tons of tools like Kissmetrics, Bidtellect, Insightsquared and alike, helping startups monitor and influence their target audience to secure their bottom line.

Leveraging all the possibilities the Big Data provides enables the startup to gain a competitive edge not only over other startups but over not-so-techy enterprise businesses as well.

Final thoughts

Embracing Big Data from the get-go is essential for startups that aim to rapidly scale and succeed. Becoming truly data-driven, highly flexible, lean, mean and efficient machine — isn’t it what any business should aim for?

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