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Small business owners: It’s time to meet big data

Business Technology | February 13, 2013

Small business owners are busy people. You’re hiring staffers, taming your business’ budget, developing new products and developing marketing campaigns. You’ve even the person in charge of setting your business’ hours and scouting out new locations for expansion. So you’re probably not delighted that business experts are telling you that you have to study big data, too, to have a competitive edge. You might not know what big data is — the majority of people don’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important to the success of your company.

Defining Big Data

What is big data? John Weathington, writing for Tech Republic blog, does a good job explaining: Big data, as the name suggests, are massive quantities of fast-moving information. This information is free, but serves a very important purpose in the marketplace. Big data, if effectively mined and studied, can tell you what your target customers want, what they lack and just how much they will be prepared to pay to have it. In other words, big data can advise you how best to run your small business.

Big Data In Action

Big data gives businesses, even small ones, a competitive advantage. CIO Magazine provides three examples. The magazine cites a financial company that uses large financial data sets and data analytics tools to help their clients decide how to best plan their retirements. This, of course, gives this financial firm an edge in attracting clients.

CIO also points to a business called Exmobaby that sells baby pajamas that include built-in biosensors. These sensors send health data from babies to parents. You can bet this use of data sets — the health information from babies themselves — attracts parents who want the best for their little ones. Then there’s the start-up Parchment, which analyzes databases of student information — from grade point averages to SAT scores to college-acceptance data — to aid their clients, students, choose and apply for colleges. The edge this company provides? It helps students apply to those schools statistically most likely to accept them. Big data, then, helps both businesses and consumers. It will help consumers make smarter choices, and it helps those businesses who provide this data gain new customers.


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