Seven Data Management Tips and Best Practices for Small Business Owners

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Click to learn more about author Lidia S. Hovhan.

Data is all-pervading in the modern world. Regardless of one’s industry or field, every organization always uses data in their everyday operations to help them attain their goals or help monitor their performance.

However, without incorporating Data Management best practices, your data analysis may be flawed. You may end up depending on “dirty” data, which may cause lots of issues – more so with your campaigns and strategies. There are many other negative impacts that your business may also face, including the breach of data security.

If you handle other people’s (i.e., clients’) information, you have to ensure that it is securely stored to boost their privacy and trust. Without the proper management channels, all of these can fall into the wrong hands.

As the digital marketing field continues to evolve, you must invest in collecting clean, quality, and reliable data to give you vital insights into your campaigns, customer data, and behavioral patterns. This makes your strategies and automations have better results in nurturing leads and eventually turning them into actual buyers. 

To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your data, we have put together a list of seven Data Management best practices and tips to follow.

1. Outline your business goals

Why should you invest in proper Data Management anyway? The first thing to consider is to figure out what your goals are. What do you intend to do with the data you collect? Which data won’t be useful to your company and why?

There are many organizations with stacks of data that they don’t even have a use for. This takes up much of their resources without any return on investment or profit. Knowing exactly what you plan to do with the data helps you keep only the relevant data that’s valuable to your company. Furthermore, this goes a long way into ensuring that the data is organized, not crowded, and – for lack of a better word – manageable.

Figure out the goals you wish to achieve and whether the data you wish to collect and store will help you achieve them. Some of the goals that your business may look into are:

  • Improve decision-making
  • Improve automations and other processes
  • Identify customer buying patterns and habits
  • Help create a buyer persona

Only after you have understood your goals will you know the right data to keep and how you would do so to ensure it remains up to date and relevant.

2. Prioritize data protection and security

If you depend on collecting your customers’ information, you must ensure that you don’t fall victim to a data breach, thus endangering the details of your entire customer base. You ought to prioritize data protection and security when it comes to Data Management best practices.

The first step is to ensure that you conform to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, this mostly applies to businesses that operate within the EU and have a customer base within the region. There are other regulations that you may also have to comply with, depending on your region.

Apart from the compliance bit, you should also ensure that only the right people are in charge of the data and that all team members are aware of the measures they need to take to handle the data properly. 

The digital world is sometimes unpredictable, so you should also put measures in place and the course of action to take should there be a suspected data breach within the organization. Ideally, you should take the right steps to ensure that this doesn’t ever happen, but it would be prudent to know what to do if it does happen.

3. Embrace backup and recovery

Storing and easily accessing data forms the foundation of the performance-tracking measures that aid in the decision-making processes to help the business grow. It’s mandatory to know where you’re coming from and how you’ve faired previously to be able to conclusively come up with plans to assist you in moving forward.

Because of that, you should have all your data backed up. Furthermore, you should also ensure that you can recover all the data at any time, even in the event of a disaster.

Nowadays, cloud storage is increasingly popular. Investing in cloud storage makes economic sense, as it is much cheaper to maintain compared to traditional methods of storing backup data. Furthermore, it is much easier to operate, and you can easily get service provider support whenever you face any issues.

Once you have your backup options in place, it would be good practice to regularly create backups, which will prepare you adequately in the event disaster strikes.

4. Visualize your data

Data visualization gives you a better view of your performance, helping you develop better strategies to boost your business. Using business intelligence tools can also prove helpful, more so if you’re to present the data to investors and shareholders.

Although there might be a slight learning curve for such tools and software, you’ll eventually get a hold of it once you subscribe to some online learning platforms in the market.

5. Focus on Data Quality

In the first section of this post, we mentioned that one way to have quality data is to ensure you only save clean data ‒ only the information that you really need. However, a lot more goes into ensuring that the data you collect remains useful to your organization. For starters, you must ensure that the data is of high quality. This means that there are no errors, making the collected data clean and reliable.

Before publishing the data, it is crucial to have it regularly fact-checked to ensure that outdated data is purged from the Data Management systems. Failure to do so might cause negative impacts on your automations and analytics. You ought to make Data Quality a top priority to avoid false reports and make it all reliable.

6. Make the data easily accessible for the right people

There’s a fine line between security and convenience of the data. In Data Management, security means that only permitted people can view the reports or access the data. No outsider can gain access and view the data. On the other hand, convenience is how easy it is for the right people to gain access to the data.

The best way around this is to invest in Data Management software and ensure that you set the permissions and authorizations based on an individual’s role with the data. For instance, lower-tier employees of a company may not need to have access to the database, but they can have a view-only section where they cannot tamper with the data.

Data-reliant departments such as sales and marketing may require access to the data. Ensure that your Data Management system enables you to grant access permission to only the right personnel and block out everyone else.

7. Invest in a reliable Data Management system

If you’re looking for tips on Data Management best practices, you cannot overlook the system you use to store your data. The first step is to look for one that actually meets your business needs: Go for one that your team can easily comprehend, one that’s designed for small businesses, and of course, ensure that it has foolproof security measures in place.

Investing in the wrong customer data platform is a surefire way to open yourself to issue after issue. You’ll also end up costing your company more money in the long run, as you may be forced to purchase and learn a new system, retrain your team members on how to use the system, and recreate the processes around data input.

Data Management Is Essential, But Don’t Rush It

Without the right Data Management system in place, your data analysis may be flawed, and all the details may be vulnerable to a data breach. However, do not fall into the trap of wanting to do everything at the same time, or you may never succeed.

As a small business, you should focus your key energies on running the primary purpose of the company. As for the data, don’t rush it – simply outline your goals, and get started by focusing on compliance, security, and Data Quality.

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