While you may think of data reports as boring, tedious, and purely business-related, the fact of the matter is that these reports are important to your business growth and development. Your data shows you how your business has grown (or not grown) over time, and it’s important to keep an eye on your data because it highlights the areas in which your business might need improvement. For example, if you notice that your net revenue has decreased month after month, then you know that something needs to change in order to turn things around and get back on track.
Start by Knowing What To Look For
When you’re looking at business reports, you need to be able to identify what they mean and how they can help you. If it’s your first time poring over a report, ask a friend or advisor for some advice on what information is most important in that particular report and why. They may have useful insight into where your efforts will be best spent. When you see something that peaks your interest, make a note—you may want to look into it further in future data reports.
Analyze, Don’t Guess
There’s an old saying in business, If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. One of your primary goals as a business owner is to increase profitability, and one way is by closely monitoring your company’s performance over time. To do that, start with these basics
Always Ask Why
If a report or metric is pointing in an interesting direction, always try to figure out why. For instance, if you’re seeing sudden growth in a new area, it might mean your marketing efforts are paying off—but it also could mean you’ve made changes to your site that have led users who formerly bounced to stick around and engage. Try to discover what’s driving changes by asking why multiple times: Why did we see that growth? Why did they stick around?
Collect More Data Than You Need
When collecting data, try asking yourself why you need it and what you’re going to do with it. For example, if you want to analyze traffic on your website from mobile vs. desktop users, collect more information than just whether or not a user is using a phone or computer. Ask for demographic details like gender and age too; your findings will only be as reliable as your research questions, so gather more data than you need.
Know When To Let Go
I’m sure we can all agree that it’s no fun to let go of a project. There’s always more work that could be done, more tweaking that could be done, or some way for you to save a sinking ship if only you had more time. But guess what? The world will not end if you have a version 1.0 and move on.
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