Written by: Noah Koff, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Being an entrepreneur is about making dreams come true. But let’s be honest, your heart loves crazy ideas and your head says conserve the cash. And you can go around in circles of indecision and wear yourself out. But it doesn’t have to be like this and let me explain why.
How To Make Data-Driven Decisions
When you learn to use data, you can be quick to decide and calm about the whole thing. If you haven’t used data in business before, let me give you the low down. Using data in business is when you ask yourself a few speciﬁc questions and make a few calculations. For example, how much capital is needed to sell 100 of these things? How quickly will you see a return on investment? What are the key facts? Then you run the numbers, make a decision, and move forward with ease. My ﬁrst experience seeing this was a true revelation. My team had worked around the clock on a business case for a seven ﬁgure investment in marketing a new product. We’d done the math – and had facts and data to prove our thinking. When we pitched our executive, we had a decision in 20 minutes and wrapped up early. It was so refreshing to see a decision made mostly on a calculator. Before this moment, I’d had so many long drawn-out situations, with indecision and frustration. And with this decision, my team could take immediate action to sell a new product and create the sales momentum our business needed.
The Beneﬁts Of Data-Driven Decisions
There’s a speciﬁc reason why the tech titans like Google and Amazon rely on data to make decisions every day. It’s because with data you can make sense of any type of business opportunity. And especially the important stuff like sales and proﬁt. This is how effective leaders frame up opportunities and tell stories to motivate big action. You know, things like an investment into new products, technology and markets. And also hiring and reorganization.
Why Do We Need Data-Driven Decisions?
How many times have you been in a meeting that is paralyzed by a slide deck that's full of opinions without any data? Guess what happens — you can’t decide anything! And often the meeting breaks down into a debate without a direction forward. Because without data you have subjective opinions and anecdotes. And situations where everything feels fuzzy. And with this comes emotional decision-making and drama.
Compare that to a point of view with data when you have facts, relevant details, and options to compare. This gives you clarity and understanding. And this is why a solid grasp of facts and visual reasoning can help: make decisions faster, become more conﬁdent in the direction forward. And have a calm head.
How Do You Start Learning About Data?
The ﬁrst part is thinking through the results your business needs for a period of time. And you could hone in on metrics for success – sales, customers acquired and return on investment. You could also set up a weekly habit with tools for tracking metrics, measuring and analysis. Since all businesses today have an online component to their marketing, you could take a course on Google’s analytics tool.
How Do You Set Goals With Data?
Setting goals is the ﬁrst part of deﬁning a strategy to move the business forward this month and season. Goals give direction to entrepreneurs and teams. And goals help us be speciﬁc and clear. Measurable goals can be tracked to show progress. Goals should be prioritized based on their level of urgency, with high-priority delivered ﬁrst. There’s a reason why the best-performing businesses have weekly habits for scorecard reviews, decision making and pivots. You could set up a metric dashboard with Geckoboard and automate a scorecard. The other part is mapping high impact projects, and activities, to turn your vision into reality. Equally important is taking massive action for new wins — and momentum — for a breakthrough season ahead. This is how you realize the life you want, gaining more time back for things that are important; upgrading your home or taking a good holiday.
So if you feel stuck without the data muscle in your business, just know you are not alone. People hire me for coaching on skills, tools and mindset for success as a data organization. Clarifying goals is one of the places to start. Then you could get focussed on your personal roadmap. If you're ready to take the ﬁrst steps to grow your business, reach out for a chat.
Read more from Noah!
Noah Koff, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Noah Koff is a business coach based in Portland, Oregon. His mission is 100x impact for change-makers and innovators. He's founded and built multiple companies from the ground up, including his personal consultancy. His wisdom comes from decades of work with respected agencies and product companies big and small in Portland, San Francisco, New York City and London. Outside of business, Noah is a husband, dad of two teenagers, and Biscuit, and enjoys a healthy active lifestyle. He’s a graduate of Boston University school of Journalism. Member of the International Academy of the Digital Arts & Sciences.