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How can SMEs harness data to compete with tech giants?

As December approaches, firms of all sizes will be planning their strategy for 2021. The second lockdown in England has brought yet another blow to the business world, and proves that industries will continue to be impacted by COVID restrictions and a new way of working. Planning for 2021 may be challenging this year, especially for small firms who have found their usual service heavily disrupted.

As all industries of business continue to be impacted by fluctuating Coronavirus restrictions, The Future Strategy Club have drawn on their freelancer base to provide a robust bank of advice from the UK’s top strategic thinkers in a new Survival Guide for businesses. Karl has contributed to this guide, and shares how firms can filter data during the pandemic to the best effect. Below, in a sample of his commentary, Karl discusses the importance of data for small businesses in 2021:

“There are a number of things small businesses can do. The use of data to generate commercial insights alongside the trust consumers need to share data, Covid aside, will become much more important. There is often an assumption that consumers will happily exchange information with a brand, but the nature and relationship in that exchange is becoming more important. As consumers become more aware of how their data is used and the value it has, brands will need to think more about how they build trust in this space.

There are more and more examples of advertising and media businesses cropping up that are designed to help accelerate smaller companies. They can help source expertise through the connections they have and find ways to access budgets directly with media owners. Media owners have worked out that they need to get in with companies when they are small and build a long-term relationship for when they grow to be larger and more lucrative clients.

The power of creativity is well documented, and the growth of platforms like The Future Strategy Club means accessing high quality skills in this and related spaces is easy and efficient. Ensuring that you set up the right performance metrics that you are able to measure and refine along the way will also be critical.

The clarity you have on the value your business delivers has to be combined with ensuring that the message is well understood by all employees. Throughout my career it’s fascinated me how often people at the top of an organisation hold a clear vision for the business but the wider employee base don’t get it. The vision has to be explained and translated into relevant behaviours and actions at all levels so that everyone understands what they are doing and why. This helps build a strong cultural resilience into the system and an ability to make decisions quickly, which is vital when we are being subjected to the forces of a global pandemic.”