Are you looking to make your business more secure and efficient by switching to a database system?
You’re not alone if this is the case. There are so many benefits to maintaining a database for your business. It can help with everything from improving your marketing to improving customer service and cybersecurity.
But now you need to know exactly how to go about building a database. This brings up certain questions like how to organize the data for optimized business performance and how to do it within personal privacy laws.
Some of these questions can be a bit complicated, so we have put together the top 8 tips that you will need to guide you through the process of setting up your small business database.
- Collect as Much Data as Possible
When it comes to data, the more you have the more valuable it is. For example, if you keep data on your customers, you can’t do a lot with just their names and phone numbers.
However, if you keep data on exactly what products and services they buy from you, this can help you optimize your offering to them. You can direct email campaigns to them to encourage them to patronize your business again, and you can also offer them a better customer experience.
- Stay Within the Law
That being said, if you are storing customer information, you need to be careful that you are doing so legally. The US, like most jurisdictions in the world, now has very strict data protection laws.
These laws regulate how you gather and store personal data from your customers, or even just your website users. You need to become familiar with these laws before you start gathering data.
- Organize the Data
It is not very useful having terabytes of data in your database if it isn’t organized in a way that makes it easy to use. What you need is a directed data management strategy.
This means incorporating different tiers of information, as well as different categories of information at each tier.
For example, the top tier might be customer personal details, but you want to be able to categorize your customers based on demographic data as well.
At a lower level, you want to categorize the types of goods or services your customers are buying. This will give you direct feedback to manage stock and introduce new product lines or end old ones.
- Get Expert Help
There is a certain amount that you can do on your own in setting up and organizing your small business database. But there is a lot that you simply won’t know how to begin with.
The ideal is to have a dedicated data management team. However, this may not be possible if you are operating a small business.
In any event, you will want to at least contract some expert help at some point along the way.
A good idea is to pay an expert to first set up and organize your database. This way, your expert can lay good foundations for you to then build up more capabilities.
If the data isn’t properly organized, to begin with, the development will be slow or impossible.
- Consider Cybersecurity
Unfortunately, cyber threats are on the rise. This is something you need to be aware of if you are operating a database because any data you hold can be stolen or leaked.
From a legal perspective, this is very dangerous if you are holding business and personal data of clients and customers. The data privacy laws we spoke about above are relevant here.
However, common cyber threats like ransomware can seriously harm your business. If you come to rely on the data for business performance (which you should), these attacks may cripple you.
So, invest in good security measures, and also make sure you backup your database in multiple locations.
- Use Your Database for Different Things
Don’t get bogged down thinking your database is only good for one thing (e.g. an email marketing campaign). There are so many ways that you can put your data to use to improve your business and you need to do research to work out how others are using databases in your field or industry.
For example, you can connect your database with other available databases to enrich it for new purposes. For instance, if you are a medical service, you may want to look into connecting with a medical practitioner database to ensure job applicants and affiliates are properly licensed. You can find out more about that here.
- Get the Right Software
When operating your database, there are a lot of good software tools available to help you manage and analyze it. You may find that a readymade software package is just what you need to crunch the numbers on your product sales, for example.
However, you may also want to look into bespoke software. Customized software will allow you to focus on the nuances of your business and also avoid paying for software features that are not relevant to you.
- Combine with Analytics
Lastly, make sure you aren’t just storing data without doing something with it. To be truly effective you want to be looking into proper data analytics.
Analyzing your data will radically improve your business performance. This will require some investment, but it is worth it.
Building a Database Is an Opportunity, Not a Chore
A lot of small business owners think they have to build a database to stay competitive, but they are not really excited about it. Its sort of like the downside of not building a database is the main driver.
However, you should view building a database not as a chore but as an opportunity to make your business stronger than ever. Those businesses that utilize this new technology will not just equal their competitors, but beat them if they use it effectively!
If you have found these tips useful, why not check out some of our other great articles on tech and business topics?