By pa360, Oct 4 2015 09:56AM
Data is a language in itself. Those who can read, translate and interpret data have a competitive edge in terms of mapping trends, forecasting trajectories and planning for the future. A firm grasp of data will enable you to see the new product opportunity long before others even knew it was there. For start-ups, the ability to commercialise data is as good as cash in the bank.
The great news is that the market-place is being deluged with data. Much of it is available by default, some can be purchased and others can be requested under legislation. So what are these information sources and how might a start-up be able to exploit them? Well here are five ways to supercharge your start-up with data.
1. Consumer and market trend survey results – some market research companies gather cyclical business intelligence, which they publish free to download from their websites. These analytical products can offer powerful insights to better understand consumer behaviour and market trends. The key to making the most of these products is to use them as pieces of a puzzle. For example, market research data may only give you part of the picture, but supplemented by demographic and other data, might provide a more complete overview. For start-ups, access to pre-packaged free to download research, is invaluable.
2. Open data deposits – a number of Governments have an ‘open by default’ policy for public data. As part of this, literally millions of pieces of data are placed in the public domain, from contract values and consultancy costs to service spend. This kind of information can provide a veritable gold-mine for a start-up looking to find a way into new markets, exploit new opportunities and develop new products.
3. Population censuses, estimates and projections – one of the most powerful sources of data for any business are demographics. Good demographic data will disaggregate populations by a range of sub domains including age; gender; ethnicity and many others. The point is this, if you know how your target population is changing over time you will be better able to forecast product demand. Equally, demographic data will enable you to better tailor your product to new and emerging markets.
4. Economic digests – it is likely that your national statistics provider already publishes a treasure trove of information relating to local economics including business demography; VAT registrations; business starts & failures and labour market activity. By themselves these digests of are excellent raw material for smart products such as apps as well as invaluable intelligence for strategic planning.
4. Freedom of Information – one of the most effective and powerful ways to access data is through the use of freedom of information (FOI) legislation. Many countries have a Freedom of Information Act, which allows members of the public to access a wide range of information retained by Governments and their agencies. The key to getting the best from your FOI request is to be specific about the kind of information that you want – don’t leave it to the supplier to guess. A good FOI request can save you thousands of pounds in market research costs.
5. Subscriptions – for a relatively small fee, a number of companies offer subscriptions to pre-packaged market research that will enable you to access useful information on customer profiling, geo-spatial analysis and market research intelligence. These kinds of data could supplement your existing research or form the basis of new product development. If you need to speculate to accumulate, investment in a subscription is a very good way to achieve a high return at a nominal cost.
Data is a phenomenally powerful, but if you don't know what you are looking for you will not know when you find it.