Stockport city centre at night with red bus at traffic lights

Bolton FM – Growth Hub calling

Having just signed off from a great interview on Bolton FM radio I thought I would make a note of the questions asked – as they captured exactly the sort of questions that business leaders from the area need to have answers to if they are to put together a plan for growth.

Q:  Paul – you have a programme of courses called ‘Growing your Business Using Data’ – what is it about data that our local businesses needs to know?

A:  Simply, that whatever action a business leader takes to grow their business, there is a pivotal role that data can play in making it happen. 

Here are some of the things they will be trying to do:

  • Find new customers, and then engage with them so they become potential leads.
  • Win leads over and bring them onboard as customers
  • Keep customers onboard by offering great service quality at competitive prices
  • Turn around any customers who are costing too much to serve
  • Win over potential funders.

Many people listening to this broadcast will be saying ‘we are doing all of these, and we use data as much as we can’.   Efforts can, however, become piecemeal and fragmented.  If this is the case then much of the value that data can bring will be lost.

In my course, I demonstrate the power to be gained by bringing data from across the business into one place so that you get visibility across everything that’s going on.

Q: When you say ‘data’, we are not just talking about the accounts?

A:  Accounts have their place.  But you are correct, I am talking overwhelmingly about non-financial data.  These are the records of events that take place across the business and beyond.

On their own, they may not be particularly useful.  But we are now in an age where pretty much everything that happens in a business leaves a digital record.  Used in the right way, these can be turned into invaluable information that can shed light on the prospects, opportunities, successes and failures that happen across business every day.   

Q:  People listening to this will know how important data is, but won’t want to get involved themselves.  What message do you have for them?

A:  We have one client not far from us that is run by a lady who said that she wants to understand as much as possible about data, but she doesn’t want to be involved working with it herself.  This is a task for members of her staff to take on.

This sentiment makes perfect sense.  You want a business leader to provide strategic insight and frame the critical questions that data needs to answer. 

But you need others in the business, who understand the questions being asked, to perform the heavy lift and turn data into answers.

This course is for both sets of people.  We demonstrate to business leaders how data can shape strategy and provide insights into improvement.  We also provide them with diagnostic tools and a road-map to help them set a strategy for using data.

We also provide hands-on experience of working with data using the readily available tools already present in most businesses.

This is not just to teach new skills, it is to also get a very important point across.

In short, data is becoming easier.  An incredible amount can be done using everyday tools such as spreadsheets.  And a great deal of the data that a business will want to use can be accessed using everyday tools.

Expensive outside help is therefore not always necessary.  The people in your business, who know the critical issues and unanswered questions standing in the way of growth, can use data to turn their knowledge of the business into insights and answers.

Q:  What do say to a business leader who is wondering whether or not to get more involved working with data?

A:  I would suggest that they list the top few critical unanswered questions they have about their business.

They might be operational in nature e.g. What are our customers thinking about us?  Are we working as efficiently as we might be?  Are we organised for the most cost effective service?

Or they might be about the subject of data itself e.g. what advantage might we get if we made better use of digital technology and data?

If you don’t have a robust way of answering these questions, then I will suggest that firstly, you come on the course and discover how data can be used to answer them. 

And secondly, that you ask yourself what might it be costing the business to not know the answers.  If this number is likely to be significant then, whether or not you come on the course, I would suggest you look very seriously at the role that data might be able to play in finding the answer.

Q:  Ok, where do you go to find out more and book.

A:  That’s easy.

It’s all there.  And what’s more, if your business is located in the Greater Manchester area, it’s all free.