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Month: July 2019

Small Business Should Invest in Big Data and Analytics

Posted on July 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

Big data refers to huge volumes of structured and unstructured data; however, processing such massive volumes of data via traditional data management tools is inefficient and impossible. To understand big data you have to realize the devices that are collecting it today e.g. bar code scanners, mobile cameras, CCTV cameras, motion sensors, smoke alarms, web analytical tools, CRMs, etc. From the examples, you can see that these devices collect a vast array of data types hence the structured and unstructured part in the definition. The sheer velocity at which the data is being produced cannot be controlled and processed using traditional methods and tools.

However, the use of big data and incorporation of big data analytical technology gives businesses the competitive edge over their competitors.

Big Data and Small Businesses

It is only a thing of the past when terms like big data and business intelligence were associated with large enterprises only. Today, small businesses have to leverage the data they are collecting in order to remain a part of the competition. For years, cost has remained the main reason why small businesses did not adopt big data analytical technologies, but this has changed now. There are budget-friendly tools available for small businesses to take advantage of the data they are collecting today. According to some experts, small businesses can take better advantage of big data since they are able to make the necessary changes far more quickly than large enterprises i.e. real-time response to insights from available data.

According to an IDG study in 2016, 78% of the large enterprises agree that big data strategy has the power to change how businesses have always operated. This shows the acceptance of big data technology and strategies for large enterprises and strengthens the fact that small businesses could become irrelevant if they did not adopt the same strategies.

Benefits of Large Data Analytics

Large Data and Big Companies, a report by IIA Director of Research, Tom Davenport, reveals that businesses are benefitting greatly from big data analytics especially in improving their products, making business decisions faster and reducing costs. Here are some ways small businesses can benefit from big data.

• Cost Savings

The upfront cost of implementing large data tools and strategies is high undoubtedly, but the long term benefits of doing so are matchless. The healthcare industry is a great example of how the use of large data can help businesses reduce their costs regardless of their size. Using predictive analytics, Medicare and Medicaid Services forestalled more than $210 million fraud in healthcare with just 2 years of utilizing the aforementioned technology.

In addition to preventing frauds, small businesses can also reduce their costs by steering clear of creating more inventory than needed, including better partners in the supply chain, etc.

• Improved Decision Making

This is the biggest benefit of large data. It allows businesses to expedite decision making by processing the data fast and giving insights in timely manner. In the past, business decisions were reserved for future strategies in the light of available data and the trends that were observed in it. The amount of data that businesses are sitting on today is huge and thus more powerful insights are to be gained from it.

This vast amount of data requires the use of modern big data hardware technologies. Once both the things are in place for a business, they can understand customers better, create products that are a closer reflection of what customers want and develop a brand based on most reverenced values.

• Impenetrable Security

Businesses are more focused today on using large data to improve their core capabilities, but less attended to a more serious concerns i.e. cyber threats and security breaches. Almost every small, medium and large business is connected to the internet today. Moreover, the Internet of Things has broadened the attackable security surface for businesses making it easier for cyber criminals to attack networks and penetrate company databases.

The biggest concern for modern businesses is that they have to “respond” to cyber attacks that have already occurred rather than being able to prevent them from occurring. The use of big data and big data analytical tools can be a game changer in this area allowing businesses to prevent any security attacks way before they are executed.

Key Technologies Helping Businesses Make the Best of Big Data

As a small business, you will have to familiarize with various technologies that help you store, analyze and take action on big data. Here are some important ones:

• Hadoop

It’s a framework supporting the storing of large amounts of data using an open-source approach. Once data is stored, Hadoop enables the use of a variety of applications using “clustered hardware” at its base. Due to the cluster of commodity hardware, it becomes possible and easy for businesses to process big data despite its increasing volume.

• Data Mining

This is the technology that enables business owners to capture insights, patterns and trends from big data that otherwise cannot be obtained with a traditional approach. Data mining is what allows you to jump in a large sea of structured and unstructured data, make sense of it all and produce analytical insights that help businesses with real-time and future decisions.

• Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics walk side by side with data mining. Artificial is at the heart of predictive analytics, enabling business owners to adjust their present strategies by giving predictions about what will transpire for the business based on existing data.

• Text Analysis and Mining

One huge concern for modern business is to analyze the noise on various web platforms such as forums, blogs, social networks, etc. to understand what customers expect from a particular brand. Finding out about brand mentions and understanding customer’s impression of your brand can help you readjust your marketing approach to gain customer loyalty. Text mining helps small to large sized businesses go through text data from emails, blog posts, social networks, etc. and hear customers “voice”.

With the rise of smartphones, artificial intelligence and IoT (internet of things) it has become clearly visible that businesses will now have to handle mountains and mountains of data, and make use of big data analytical and processing technologies to have the competitive edge.

Small Business Loans – Encouraging Business Initiatives

Posted on July 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

Being a small business owner is not easy. Apart from the problems that the small business owners have to face in operating business, the severest of problems is in raising capital. It is not easy to raise capital for business use; particularly in an environment in which small business owners are accorded a status similar to borrowers with bad credit. Self employment is considered a bad credit case because of the unstable income generation through small business. It is said how a small business owner will pay fixed installments on a loan if he has not made much income (profits) in a particular month. Banks and financial institutions are thus not receptive to the demands of the small business owners.

However, a loan can be designed particularly suited to the small business owners. Few lenders, who did not want to lose on the opportunity of lending to the rising group of small business owners, devised such loan. It is known as small business loan. Small business loans are advanced to small entrepreneurs who invest it in a series of purposes like expansion of their facility, buying technology, purchasing new tools and equipments, and also to buy raw materials and pay wages to workers.

Lenders advance small business loans on the principle of moderate risk, which is no different from lending any other loan. The principle of moderate risk implies lending by keeping sufficient cover against risks. Therefore, while designing the terms of the small business loans, lenders are often seen to be using this principle. Take for instance, the rate of interest. The rate of interest charged on small business loans is higher than the normal. Similarly, lenders will only lend a limited sum on small business loans. These are sufficient proof of the manner in which lenders prepare for any risk that may emerge in the future.

What differences can a borrower notice in small business loan, which goes in his favour? Borrowers can get an arrangement designed by which they can repay loan installments with ease. Small business loan with a flexible repayment schedule sufficiently solves the problem of the self employed people. Through a flexible repayment schedule, borrowers do not need to make repayments of a pre-specified amount and a pre-specified period. Depending on the income that they are able to salvage in that period, they can make repayments accordingly. Therefore, in certain months (or any periodicity chosen by borrower to make repayments) there can be underpayments, overpayments, and no payments at all (termed as payment holiday).

However, not all lenders may be ready to accommodate your financial condition thus. If you consider the clause of flexible repayments so necessary in your case, then you must mould your search operations accordingly. With the help of brokers, searching small business loan according to ones desired criteria is not very difficult. Brokers are associated with several loan providers in the UK. When a person applies for small business loan to these brokers, they forward it to all the lenders who they think can appropriately advance loans to the entrepreneurs. The broker conducts the entire search operation. The borrower just has to choose from the large number of deals that the lenders forward. Brokers can also arrange small business loans from lenders who accept flexible repayment. Similarly, other specific requirements of borrowers can be incorporated into any small business loan searched. Brokers charge certain fees for their services. However, the best deal that these help to find will make the issue of fees irrelevant.

Small business loans can be either short term or long term. A short-term small business loan is repayable in a period ranging from certain months to a year. Long-term small business loans on the other hand, advance money for as long as 25 years. Depending upon ones requirement, the small business owners can decide term of repayment and other terms and conditions of the small business loan.

5 Tips Small Businesses Can Take Away From The Tiny House Movement

Posted on July 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

What on earth could small businesses learn from the tiny house movement if your industry is unrelated? It comes as no surprise that the growth, mission, popularity and purpose of the tiny house movement have grown over the past decade. People are joining this movement for financial freedom, environmental and leisure enjoyment. These owners reduce skyrocketing maintenance costs and living expenses that come from soaring mortgage payments of capacious houses. This movement also frees up more time to spend with family and travel.

Over the past decade, we have seen the increase in restructuring, downsizing and corporate dismantling by many large firms. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99.7 percent of all employer firms are small businesses. While this percentage is an impressive number, there are some great tips many small businesses can take away from the tiny house movement.

  • Compact and mobile: Owners of tiny houses downsize to reduce the overabundance of clutter, high mortgage payments, and freedom to do more things they want to engage in. They have the capability of hitching their home on the back of a vehicle and can save money on hotel costs when traveling. Depending on your type of business, with the ease and digitization of many applications and smart devices, you can mobilize your business and take it anywhere. Even if you relocate, your business can be just as portable. Small businesses may be compact in scale, but can be substantial in their return on investment.
  • Energy and cost-efficient: Tiny house owners save money by lower operating costs, energy usage, and maintenance costs. You will find innovative ways to curb your budget in certain areas that will free up money for other important business investments to grow your business. Small businesses may not use up as much energy and power as larger organizations. You can operate more efficiently as well as effectively.
  • Environmentally conscious and sustainable: Tiny houses may be built using environmentally friendly and repurposed materials. They are built to last but are as unique and aesthetically appealing as the details in a larger home. Small businesses can apply similar eco-friendly elements and recycled supplies to their organization. Make a statement with personalized and customized brand installations on a smaller scale, but with great innovative curb appeal.
  • Technological advantages: Technology is not as big and bulky as it once was. Tiny houses can embody the same level of digitization as larger homes, just on a smaller scale. At one time, big businesses had the upper-hand with harnessing more advanced applications in technology. Nowadays, not only is technology more advanced and constantly evolving, many elements are far more affordable than they’ve ever been.
  • Innovative: While tiny house living is not a new phenomenon it is increasing in popularity. The idea of living a quality life on a small-scale pushes us to new levels of residential creativity. We are inspired to try something new, creative, and innovative that will make us stellar in our industry. Since many quality products and services are more affordable and reliable, small businesses can make quality purchases and outsource services that will save on equipment and personnel budgets.

Just because a small business may adopt a few ideas from the success of the tiny house movement, some of these applications may not be feasible or appealing to your particular industry. You don’t have to sacrifice quality for affordability. Small businesses have the power, however, to promote their business with creative, personalized and exceptional customer experiences, regardless of size and budget.

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