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How Different Analyst Types Can Positively Impact Your Small Businessby@ryanayers
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How Different Analyst Types Can Positively Impact Your Small Business

by Ryan AyersDecember 2nd, 2022
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Data analysis used to be considered a luxury of big business. And it’s still true that larger corporations will be able to use these tools in ways that smaller businesses can’t. Most locally owned shops can’t afford the six-figure salary that comes with hiring a full-time analyst.

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Data analysis used to be considered a luxury of big business. And it’s still true that larger corporations will be able to use these tools in ways that smaller businesses can’t. Most locally owned shops can’t afford the six-figure salary that comes with hiring a full-time analyst.

However, you can now use these services on a freelance basis to help your business out during times of greatest need. In this article, we
look at five different types of analysts and determine how they can help you optimize your operations.

Different Types of Analysts

While the work of analysts falls into the broader category of data comprehension and implementation, there are a wide variety of specialties that help experts narrow their focus and provide highly customized business solutions. Some businesses will use multiple forms of data analysis to optimize all parts of their operation.

The average small business may not be able to hire a full dream team, but it can still be helpful to understand what is out there and investigate how you can take advantage of what is out there to improve all aspects of your
business.

Economic Analyst

Economic analysts work, not necessarily on behalf of a single business, but in a way that may impact the outlooks of many. Often employed by the government, they make economic forecasts that focus on both the short and long-term to help determine what the economy will be doing in a month, and a year from now.

Oh, so they’re the reason we’re all so depressed all the time.

Well, it’s true that they aren’t always the bearers of good news, particularly not over the last few turbulent years of the Covid economy. Sometimes their forecasts are optimistic, and other times, their negative forecasts don’t come true.

At any rate, paying attention to economic analysts' work is a good way to prepare for wider economic events that might influence your business. Is there a recession coming? Spoilers: most economic analysts say yes.

If so, that’s something that your business will most likely want to start planning for now. Economic analysts make it easier to accomplish.

Data Analysts

Sort of your all-purpose analyst, those with that focus broadly on data specializes in accumulating large quantities of information, sorting it, and finding patterns. Essentially, they are performing the fundamental work of data comprehension and analysis.

They may not have a narrow focus like the economic analyst does, but they can be used to help you accomplish a wide range of business goals.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts are growing in prominence. A recent survey suggested that the demand for this job will increase by around six percent throughout the rest of the decade. When you think about what they do, it’s not such a big surprise that more and more businesses are looking to add these people to their teams.

Financial analysts essentially take a look at the financial aspect of a business’s operations and make predictions that help them maintain financial continuity and growth. What will happen if we buy company X?

What if we double our product launch quantities next year? How about if we open up a second location across town?

Basically, financial analysts add a degree of certainty to business decisions that can be very frightening, yet at the same time full of opportunity.

Operations Analyst

Operations analysts, as their name suggests, go in and look to see if a business is operating at its fullest level of possible efficiency. They go in and take a look at what will happen if you do X over Y. Big businesses might have one or two of these people on hand at all times to walk them through large decisions.

However, they are also available on a freelance basis. For example, let’s say you run a locally-based warehouse and fulfillment center. You want to start servicing the pharmaceutical industry. Great money in it, and the contract you have on the table will open the door to lots more work in the future.

Here’s the situation: pharmaceuticals are highly regulated. If you are going to start doing this, you’ll need to make changes to your warehouse, and none of them are cheap.

An operations analyst may be able to help you analyze the risk-to-value prospects of the investment, helping you find a solution that optimizes the efficiency of all your operations while staying within a budget that makes the decision sensible.

Business Analyst

Business analysts go in and look for ways to improve the overall efficiency and potential of a business. They might acquire their information by looking at your numbers, but they also might dig a little deeper, performing employee interviews, and other forms of communication to derive the most granular insights possible.

You might bring them in for a specific goal. You want to launch one of those “digital revolutions” they are always talking about on Forbes, but you can’t figure out how. There is a lot of software out there and it’s all very expensive.

The business analyst will be able to help you identify what tech solutions will have the highest possible impact by looking at your business’s pain points, and identifying fixes for them.

Once again, this is a position that can exist in a full-time capacity but is most often experienced on a freelance basis. You hire them during times when you want to make a change or cement progress.

What Analysts Can’t Do

Analysts sound almost magical when you lay it all out like that. Business is full of so much uncertainty and yet despite all of that, these people somehow have the answers to all the questions that keep you up at night.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite like that. Analysts can take some of the guesswork out of your decision-making through data processing, but it’s important to understand that they are ostensibly making “guesses” of their own. That’s not the official language around it, but the ultimate result is essentially the same.

Like everyone else, they can’t look into the future. Instead, they look into the past, find patterns, and make predictions about how those patterns will replicate and advance going into the future.

Their predictions are good and useful, but ultimately exactly that: predictions.