To survive in the fast-paced business environment of today, businesses need to make timely decisions based on real insights. Data is more ubiquitous than ever today and businesses first need to be able to manage this data before harnessing it for decision-making. At the same time, a multitude factors must be considered when reaching a decision.
Reaching a good decision is also only a part of the equation – implementing it, seeing it through, monitoring performance and tracking results is the second half. So you must also make allowance for this part in your business decisions.
Following are some helpful tips that will assist you in making smart business decisions on time.
Know Your Audience
When making business decisions, it is critically important to know your audience. Once you know who you want to target for your products, services or campaigns, it becomes easier to create tailored content for that particular audience. However, creating generalized target audiences has become redundant in today’s marketplace. Instead, you may need to identify specific clusters of audiences within your broader target audience. This is known as ‘audience segmentation’ in the marketing parlance.
Buyer personas are another concept that should be considered alongside segmentation. A buyer persona is essentially an archetype buyer. You should define the age, occupation, likes, dislikes, gender, location, weight, height and other details to create effective buyer personas. Once you have a persona, it is easier to make business decisions while keeping in view that persona.
Be Ready to Change and Adapt
The modern business environment requires you to be flexible when making decisions. You must be ready to learn and grow, evolve over time, experiment and adapt as more and more relevant information becomes available. Part of this is to be able to recognize mistakes and take a step back when needed. Pushing through an unwise business decision and pulling back can often be the difference between a successful company and a bankrupt one.
You must also have processes in place to identify key insights which can be used for future decision-making. By keeping track of the relevant insights and data ahead of time, you can make informed decisions when needed without wasting any time.
Use Streaming Analytics
Batch analytics have traditionally been used to glean valuable insights from the available data. However, batch analytics can typically take some time to process the data and provide useful outputs. This, in turn, can delay the decision-making process.
Enter streaming analytics. This variety of analytics is able to take real-time data and turn it into instant insights which can then be used for smart decisions. Streaming analytics can create insights in a second or sub-second timeframe. This is particularly useful for making business decisions during live sessions or events. You can, for instance, tweak the advertisements at a live event based on real-time data about customer trends. Open-source options like Imply Analytics are a great way to curate customized streaming analytics solutions.
Consider Past Decisions but Scale for Present
It is useful to consider past precedents for situations you have encountered before. After all, your past business decisions were probably based on good sense, unless they were a failure. Even if a decision was a failure, you can use it to remember what not to do when making a similar decision in the present.
When considering the past business decisions, it is important to identify what’s new and different in the present circumstances. In some cases, you are able to re-use the same decisions after scaling them for the new situation. In other cases, you may need to count in new factors and modify the decisions in their light.
It is important to understand that every business scenario is unique, even if two scenarios may look exactly alike. Timing alone can become a major differentiator. This is why it is important to consider these differences when using past precedents.
Have a Backup Plan
It is important to put your full confidence and conviction behind a business decision once you have reached it. However, it is equally important to have a contingency plan in case your decision does not yield the expected results. The nature of your backup plan may vary from situation to situation.
For instance, in some situations, the contingency plan may kick in when different variables connected to your decision reach a certain pre-defined limit. This limit then serves as a trigger for the backup plan. In other cases, you can schedule weekly or monthly review meetings where you can use forecasts and other tools to see the results. If the results are not promising, you may discuss and adopt the backup options.
Diversify Data Sources
The more relevant data you use to reach a business decision, the more likely is the success of this decision. It is possible to use a huge variety of data sources for business decision-making. You can, for instance, us on-site user behaviors, purchasing trends and social media streams to reach fruitful marketing or advertising decisions. Toolsets such as streaming analytics mentioned above can help you manage these streams and glean useful insights from them.
Seek to Solve Problems
The best kind of business decisions seek to solve problems, whether they are organizational problems, problems in the production line or a problem in the lives of your buyer personas. When you make a decision, ask yourself: does it solve a problem; does it solve the identified problem in the best way possible; have others tried to solve this problem before, and if so, how did they approach it. These questions will help you steer towards making the right decision.
In the increasingly competitive market landscape today, it is crucial for businesses to reach the right decisions at the right time. However, more factors than ever have to be considered today to make such decisions. This is why you need the tools, techniques and strategies to first manage these factors and then use them effectively for decision-making. The tips above help you take steps towards this. However, ultimately every business decision caters to a unique problem. So a pinch of creativity is essential for making the right choices.