Step 1: Questions

I talk to a lot of people about data, and when I ask them why they’re not looking at their data and using it to make decisions, I hear frustration and confusion.

  • How do I start?
  • I have so much data I don’t know what to look at first.
  • I can’t do (take your pick) machine learning/multivariate regression/Big Data, so why bother?
  • I want to but I never can find the time.
  • I’m not a stats whiz, so I’m just going to mess things up.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by numbers, and by the amount of data you may have at your disposal in your CRM or HRIS or your online point-of-sale system, and so end up doing nothing with it. But this means that you’re not taking advantage of a valuable asset: your data about your customers, their buying patterns, what CTAs they responded to, and more. And without this, you’re going to be handicapped trying to meet your goals and grow your bottom line.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to lay out a step-by-step process to galvanize you into diving into your data. Because at the end of the day, you’re running a business, not pursuing a hobby. (Though some have made a business out of their hobby….) We need to have a handle on our numbers, on which marketing campaigns are working, on whether we’re gaining new customers only to lose them a month from now, and more.

We’ll start this week by staying far away from any numbers.

You read that right. I want you to not look at your data. Don’t peek at your dashboards, don’t call to mind your KPIs or your quarterly sales figures. Nothing. No numbers. Numbers are verboten this week.

Now, think about what the burning questions are in your business. What is it that you really want to know? What’s been bugging you and you can’t seem to find an answer? What just doesn’t look right? Why is X happening when you expected Y?

Your questions are going to be your compass, your North Star. Your questions are what you’re going to return to again and again as you dive into your data. Your questions are going to keep you from going off on tangents.

Write them down, in no particular order, and save them for next week, when we’ll pick up with Step 2.

In the meantime, if you have questions or would like to talk through this exercise (or other questions you have in your business), I’m offering a free 30-minute consultation during these unprecedented times. Click here for a calendar where you can book an appointment yourself. I look forward to connecting!

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