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Data Disobedience: 5 Rules That Every Entrepreneur Should Break

Look To Your Data For Insights

Wrong! Data is stupid. If you’re hoping that data will tell you what to do, you’re sorely mistaken. Whether it’s Google Analytics or your quarterly sales, the act of looking at data and hoping for some sort of insight is a silly use of your time.

Instead, let your middle school science teacher inspire you. By using the scientific method, you’ll find your data can actually be useful.

Data rules entrepreneurs should break

Start with an hypothesis, an assumption or a question. Decide on what you’d need to answer that question or prove your hypothesis. Only then, turn to your data. Utilize your experience and your team’s expertise to glean insights. Use your data to tell you if you’re right or wrong!

Analyze Your Data

Don’t waste time analyzing your data… unless you’re going to act on it. I’m going to assume you’ve got a lot to do, being an Noobpreneur on your way to success. There’s much more valuable things to do that spend precious time and effort, sifting through numbers as your eyelids grow heavier and heavier.

This is one situation where the thought most certainly doesn’t count.

If you’re not ready and willing to take action, backed by your data, then analysis is a cost without a benefit. It’s the actions you take that makes your data valuable.

Act On Actionable Data

Don’t bother acting on your data-inspired insights, if you don’t have a plan to measure the results.

Without a measurement plan, and a point where you can confidently claim success or failure, you’re pretty much just doing things at random. It’s a little bit like blindfolding yourself at a shooting range. Fun, but dangerous.

Break this rule by following these easy steps. First, decide the metric or performance indicator you plan on impacting. Then, decide how much of an impact would be needed for the action to be considered successful. The alternative to success is occasional failure and that’s alright. More commonly, the actions don’t result in a significant change.

Data is like that friend who enables your bad decisions, like having that seventh beer at 1am but measurement is a good bartender who cuts you off and calls you a cab.

You Need Big Data!

Big data sucks for small businesses! Ignore it.

Big data is big, expensive, clunky and noisy! Big data uncovers the type of insights that small businesses don’t care about, don’t need and don’t want. I love data and that is why I insist on data being accessible, enjoyable and not requiring a masters degree from MIT.

You know what’s better than big data? Small data.

Small data is web analytics and it tells you when your SEO strategy is working and whether you should send more email newsletters out. Small data suits entrepreneurs and small businesses because it is directly tied to the daily wins and losses of growing a business. Big data is expensive and demands large data sources, algorithms to be crafted and a team of statisticians. Small data is free and offers direct answers for an enquiring mind.

Data analytics

You Need An Analyst

Nope, you don’t need an analyst. No offense to analysts; they’re amazing, smart people who wrangle huge swaths of data. But you’re amazing too and because you’re paying attention to this article, you’re able to learn the fulcrum of all analysis.

Web Analytics can be distilled into one of three possible actions: grow, optimize or do nothing.

Ok, watch this! You have something you want your audience or customers to do. Usually, it’s a purchase or a request of a quote or subscribing. We call this a conversion. Channels (or segments or user types) that convert more are higher quality than channels that convert less.

Channels that are high quality are perfect to grow.

Channels that are low quality need to be optimized.

Channels that are simply too small to be worth your effort fall under the do-nothing banner.

Good analysts start with a question designed to uncover opportunities. And now you’re qualified to find these insightful yourself! When you know what channel needs what type of action (grow or optimize), it becomes easy to act. Just google “how to grow X channel” or “how to optimize Y” and you’ll get a beautiful range of ideas. Works every time!

Reduced Uncertainty Beats Debilitating Precision

Data is deep,vast and filled with complexity like a numeric Grand Canyon. There is a place for precision, and there’s a value to it too. The problem lies in seeking perfect data that covers every angle leads to paralysis by analysis.

As a Noobpreneur, you need fast solutions so you can move fast. By breaking the rules here, you’re reducing uncertainty and allowing yourself to act with confidence. Measuring the results adds a level of security by catching bad ideas quickly and affirming good ideas. Sure, you’re not working with granular precision but you don’t need to.

Go ahead, act! That’s what you do and you’ve got the data in your corner!

About author

Dean Levitt
Dean Levitt 1 posts

Dean Levitt is the founder of Teacup Analytics. Raised on a 30-acre farm near Johannesburg, South Africa, Dean Levitt moved to the US in 1999 to pursue a career in music. While growing his previous company, Mad Mimi, an email marketing service acquired by GoDaddy in 2014, Dean realized that analyzing Google Analytics data could be way simpler. Dean founded Teacup Analytics to help everyone easily understand their audience and site performance.

Funding Note

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