5 Best Practices for Small Business Data Collection

By Jason Peck on January 10, 2019
Tags: Data Collection

5 Tips for Small Business Data Collection

No matter what industry or niche you’re in, one of the things that make or break you is how you handle data collection. If you’re accepting money from a customer, then you’re probably invoicing and keeping a record of it. That’s data collection. If you’re paying an employee or spending money on business equipment or service, then you want to keep track of what you’re paying for. That’s data collection too.

Those are just two simple examples of data collection within a small business.

Not following best practices for data collection can have serious consequences. Small businesses should focus on data collection as much, if not more, than bigger businesses. A big business might be ok with losing a few invoices a month and can get by losing $10,000 in potential revenue. But Can you afford to?

Here are a few best practices for small businesses and data collection.

Create a Process

Whether you’re just getting started with your data collection efforts or refocusing them, it’s important to have a process in place. This process should be repeatable and scale-able so that as you grow, you’re not having to reinvent the wheel each month.

Be Consistent

When you are figuring things out, make sure you’re doing things consistently. If you have the equipment you’re purchasing, make sure you keep a record of each purchase and do it the same way each time. If you’re asking employees to fill out timesheets, make sure you educate them on how it should be done. Being consistent with your data collection methods is crucial so you can track efforts over time and have the ability to make decisions based on insights you’re discovering.

Store Your Data Securely

You are probably collecting various types of information from your customers, partners and employees, in addition to the data you track about your own business. Make sure you’re storing this securely. At GoCanvas, we help our clients store their data securely in the cloud, so there’s no need to worry about file cabinets or physical storage space.

Make Data Collection Simple

Another best practice for small business data collection is to make it as simple as possible for your workforce and/or your customers to get you the information you’re looking for. Maybe you’d love to have everyone fill out 10 pages of information with their pets’ names, favorite car and favorite vacation spot so you can use this in marketing efforts….but this probably isn’t going to happen.

Instead of asking people to fill out any paper forms at all, why not use mobile devices to collect this information? You’ll get your data back quickly and securely, and you won’t have to deal with terrible handwriting, torn pages or completely lost forms. Watch this video about how GoCanvas can help you go paperless and mobile with your data collection.

Evaluate and Improve Data

As business owners, it’s important to set time aside to take a step back and evaluate your data collection efforts, as well as the data itself. Ask yourself what’s working and what’s not working in your data collection process. Analytics is one way to gain insight into what is working in your data and what is not.

Are you using the latest features and technologies (signature capture, integrations, GPS recording, barcode scanning, calculations, etc.)? Taking advantage of these offerings can help you improve the quality of your data.

You might also find that one element of your data collection process is holding you back. For example, maybe you figure out it’s taking an average of 25 days from when you invoice a customer to when you are paid. Maybe you can test collecting payment via a mobile device or sending a reminder email in order to get paid earlier. Tightening the sales cycle in a small business is incredibly important for growth and sustainability.

We hope you enjoyed these tips for data collection for small businesses. What best practice do you think is absolutely essential?

Now you can easily modernize the way you are collecting data. Whether you are looking to improve your data handling processes or advance reporting, we hope you consider using GoCanvas as your data collection tool. Sign up for GoCanvas free and give our platform a try today!

Interested in learning more? Check out our eBook on The Power of Data: How to Turn Numbers into Business Insights.