With many new inexpensive analytic tools on the market, small business owners can embrace technology that will help them identify opportunities and stay competitive. Analytical software has the power to evaluate productivity, interpret customer data, assess sales performance and calculate risks and return on investment. Here are a few tips that can help with business growth and strategy.

1. Consumer Transparency

In order to target a specific group of shoppers, retailers can use free programs such as Google Analytics to gather information about online consumer behaviors such as clicks, visited pages, web traffic, products viewed, and effectiveness of social media, With this data, retailers can quantify, organize, and analyze this intelligence to assess behavior patterns to increase purchases and transactions.

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2. Performance Indicators

Many small businesses are now using analytics and data to measure the efficiency and productivity of their firms. Performance can be measured and assessed, allowing it to determine whether to proceed with certain management decisions. Programs such as Salesforce and QuickBooks can provide data analysis that can also demonstrate areas for improvement and development, setting a path for maximizing profit.

3. Product/Sales Analysis

Through the use of intelligence and analytical programs, businesses can test certain strategies based on current models and can use relevant data to figure out the best approaches. Example: For the restaurant industry, programs such as Swipely can mine client credit card information and create a dashboard that can provide metrics such as check averages, track popular menu choices, and food sales.

4. Market Research/ Penetration

Technology is constantly developing and transforming, making non-existent markets a reality. Businesses constantly need to collect data to look for innovative ways to introduce impactful products and platforms. Through data analysis and research, it can create opportunities and capitalize on these untapped markets. With the necessary data tools risk can be minimized while maximizing potential returns.

As information becomes more available and digitized, it is imperative for small businesses to quickly react to accumulated data. The role of analytics is expanding and it can help small businesses to stay competitive in today’s volatile marketplace.

I would like to thank Paul Chang for his help on preparing this article with me. Paul is a Marketing Intern at Consultants 2 Go and student at New York University. Don’t forget, you can email me at Peggy@Consultants2Go.com with any questions you might have and I’ll be glad to answer them. You can also follow my business and me on Twitter @peggymchale and @consultants2go.