OK, now you’ve got your questions, and you’ve got your available data. It’s time to put them side by side and see what’s going on.

This is where the fun begins!


We’ll start at the top. What is the biggest question? I’m going to take a wild guess here that profit is one of the big questions that you have. Maybe it’s overall profit for the year, or by quarter. Maybe it’s average profit per customer and reaching a higher target for 2020. No matter, you’re going to need to have your sales and financial data at the ready. In order to calculate average per customer you’re going to need access to your detailed purchase data. [Bonus: can you calculate average per transaction?]

Marketing ROI

Your marketing team made the decision to increase your spend on Facebook ads this year, as part of your online store rollout. What’s the return on that investment been? You’ll need to put that side-by-side with your Facebook data. Have you got that? If not, start this week by downloading your data directly from your Facebook account.

Retaining Customers

One of your concerns with your online business strategy focus this year was not alienating your brick-and-mortar customers. Retaining those customers is a key part of your 2020 strategy. So you’ll need to be digging into your customer and sales data. Have you got that at the ready? You’re going to want to identify your customers individually, and see how many of them frequented your business just once, and then more often. If this isn’t part of the data you tracked down last week, now’s the time to start hunting for it.

Customer Satisfaction

Increasing customer satisfaction is one of your goals for 2020, since you’ve heard rumblings from some of your longest-standing customers. But when you go to line up your data with your question, you realize that there’s a gap.

You don’t have any customer satisfaction data. None turned up last week when you were hunting down your data sources.

This was bound to happen. I’ve seen this with clients, and I’ve also lived this in previous jobs. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we’re going through this exercise. We want to identify where the gaps are between our goals and our data, and then get to work filling those gaps.

The good news is that you can start today gathering that data, and then analyzing it. The bad news is that it’s going to be a month or so until you’re able to have anything to work with.

Orphan Data

It’s possible that by going through this exercise you’ll find that you have some “orphan data,” that is, data that doesn’t align with any of your larger questions. This is an opportunity to reflect on why you’re collecting and maintaining it in the first place. Was it once necessary, but now isn’t? It could free up some resources if you decide it’s no longer needed.

This should give you the idea. Take your question and put it side-by-side with the data you have, and see where that leaves you. Easier said than done, I agree! Which is why I’d love to hear how this is going for you. Leave a comment below and tell me what your side-by-side looks like.


If you have questions or would like to talk through this exercise and how it applies to 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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