Even though most solo-entrepreneurs understand the benefits of business intelligence, they will probably never take advantage of it. They will assume they have neither the time nor the money to make use of business intelligence.
But the field of business intelligence has changed over the years. It’s now cheaper and easier than ever for freelancers, side-giggers, and solo-entrepreneurs to take advantage of.
Modern solo-entrepreneurs often carry no inventory, have little overheads, and work primarily from their smartphone. And many BI solutions are designed with them in mind.
Nonetheless, why would a solo-entrepreneur, already short on time and resources, want to implement a business intelligence solution?
As it turns out, there are at least five good reasons to do so.
1. Business intelligence helps take the emotion out of decision-making
This may only be partially true. Every entrepreneur knows there are a lot of emotions and feelings wrapped up in their business.
But utilizing business intelligence can make it easier for you to make data-driven decisions. As the saying goes: “The numbers don’t lie.”
You may have started your business with one idea and have become emotionally attached to that idea. Perhaps you wanted to disrupt a certain industry or you have a personal investment in one aspect of your business.
Without adequate analysis, it’s very easy to let those emotions carry the day when the actual data suggests otherwise. Business intelligence can help make an otherwise difficult decision easier to make.
2. Business intelligence allows you to visualize data
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s true. It’s one thing to see numbers and figures suggesting a certain trend in your business, however it’s something entirely different to see that trend visually represented.
One of my favorite aspects of business intelligence is the ability to present your data in a dashboard replete with charts and graphs. What might take several hours to analyze using numbers and spreadsheets, can be seen in a matter of seconds using pictures and graphs.
Some business intelligence solutions go even further. These programs allow you to use your data to create fascinating infographics—which are great for sharing and marketing.
3. Business intelligence can give you a competitive advantage
As a solo-entrepreneur, you’re facing tremendous odds. Your competition may include other entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even big corporations.
Even if you’re in a new industry, if it’s a lucrative field, competition will soon join you.
You will always need a competitive advantage, but finding one is not always easy. Incremental improvements to your products and services may not be enough.
Having access to in-depth knowledge of your company’s data can give you the edge in a crowded field. This is an advantage no one else can copy.
4. Real-time data analysis
A large corporation may not be affected by a minor change in the business climate. But for a solo-entrepreneur, a small change can have a huge impact.
And if you depend on traditional financial statements, you might not discover these changes until it’s too late. Business intelligence can give you real-time information that’s simply unobtainable from traditional financial reporting.
Furthermore, cloud technology and mobile devices make it even easier to get this crucial information. You can run data analysis, create informative dashboards, and project future goals all from your smartphone.
5. Identify opportunities and threats
Solo-entrepreneurs can use business intelligence the same way large corporations do. They can use it to find potential opportunities or problems.
Some of these include:
- You might think that service you’re providing is critical to your business.
- You might think using a certain supplier is saving your money.
- You might think your business is growing.
But until you have the data, you don’t really know for sure. Business intelligence helps take away the mystery and removes the guesswork.
For years, only big businesses could afford to take advantage of business intelligence. The cost and time required to analyze and take action on the data was just too great.
But times have changed. Now, solo-entrepreneurs have access to excellent BI tools at surprisingly low costs.
If you are a solo-entrepreneur, you cannot afford to miss out on business intelligence.