As a small business owner, a confusing part operating in the modern world involves the use and regulation regarding personal data. In our age, you will be hard-pressed to find a resource as valuable or as potentially dangerous as the data you gather from your customers. Understanding the relationship that you have with this data is paramount to building trust with your customers, building your brand, and growing your business.
Why is data important?
One of the Better Business Bureau's 8 Standards of Trust is safeguarding privacy. Today’s customers expect their data to be protected with the utmost care. As a business, you are ultimately responsible for maintaining the privacy of your customers. There are risks to neglecting this important part of your business?
Companies that build themselves around their customers data (think Target, Amazon and Alibaba) are more responsive, more intelligent, and better adapted to their customers needs. The phrase ‘data is the new oil’, popularized by data scientist Clive Humby, emphasizes the importance and disruption that properly utilized data can create for your small business.
What’s the harm with data?
While data is vital to growing your business, it also had the potential to be very damaging if it is not managed in the right way. If your data becomes compromised, customers will lose their faith in you, and will not want to do business. To prevent this, make sure your business uses a technology with security capabilities to protect data.
Another solution to promote healthy data security is to maintain communication within your team about good practices. It is vastly important to maintain open lines with your staff about exactly what you are collecting from customers, and how you are using it. This is especially true for any team member working in IT or another technologically focused position. Maintaining open lines of communication will allow your team to stay on top of the processes that are used and alert everyone to common pitfalls of your specific organization’s data collection.
What steps can I take to ensure data is properly collected and my business grows?
To make sure you are taking full advantage of your companies data safely, you don’t need to be a hardcore techie. Maintaining your customers data in a single place, such as HubSpot’s free CRM, will make your life as a business owner much easier, both by centralizing data for every department of your company in a single spot as well having your data in a place you can trust.
Don’t make the mistake of having passwords written down on paper, or writing down your customers personal data in an unsafe place. If you invest in giving yourself the right tools, data can be an incredibly valuable and insightful tool for your business.