Advance Your Business Using Data-driven Decisions

Marketing & Branding
Tips & Tricks

01 Aug 2022 • 3 min read

How can you improve your decision-making skills with data? The average adult makes more than 30,000 decisions daily. And, if you manage a business, you probably have to make even more. With data, you could reduce the chances of making many terrible decisions.


That’s a lot of decisions!

We know. And the current fast-paced global business environment makes it so that as a leader, you need to regularly make good decisions to either advance or get left behind. It does not even have to be a conscious process.

As an SME in Malaysia for instance, you may consciously (or unconsciously) decide to integrate digital marketing into your business. That decision was based on making a choice between two or more options available to you.

But what is this data-driven decision you speak of?

For the last 15 years, technology and computers have increasingly become a part of our daily lives. Before this era (and even now, hence this post), many leaders depended on their gut feelings, instinct and even assumptions to make decisions.

The present business environment, however, is one in which almost everything can be tracked and quantified — from social media to mobile and web use. All of these technologies have contributed to the growth of an abundance of information; data that could potentially help business leaders succeed.

How so?

In the example earlier where you decided to integrate digital marketing into your business, it is more likely that you did so based on information that you already knew. Knowledge is power.

Maybe you read an article like this one about how digital marketing can boost your business. Or it could be that someone told you about SMEs that successfully implemented digital marketing and are now recording increased revenue.

If you did not have the information that showed the advantages of going digital, the decision would be a difficult one for you to make. And you will probably choose not to spend money on something that you can’t predict the results for.

The problem with this is that for many businesses, the wrong decision can lead to devastating results. We know successful leaders are great decision makers. Ultimately, it is clear that data-driven decision-making increases the chances of decisions being great ones.

Data shows that this is true. According to the MIT Sloan Management Review in 2018, 59% of business leaders attributed their competitive advantage to the use of data analytics, up from 51% in 2015.


Source: Alpha — How Decisions Are Made

Okay, how do I start making data-driven decisions?

There are 5 quick steps:


  1. Data collection: with a focus on better data planning. Ask questions like: how will we use the collected data to add value to the business, what do we want to measure and how will we measure it?

  2. Make sense of the data: by investing in the tools and skills necessary. There is a lot of data in the world but most of it is raw and useless unless you can make sense of it. Participate in events like SME BizNet 2019 to connect with experts and gain insight into the digital trends.

  3. Transparency: helps in ensuring that one person is not reading the data wrongly owing especially to unconscious biases.

  4. Use the data collected: for making decisions. You can even combine available data with your instincts, but it should be in a way that aligns with whatever facts highlighted in the data.

  5. Do not stop: because like most essential business processes, data-driven decision-making is a continuous process that also requires constant improvement.

Many of the world’s greatest leaders depend on having the right information for them to execute innovative and ground-breaking decisions. Taking advantage of information already in the world can help you take your leadership and decision-making skills to a new level.

In the current technological environment, it is even easier to generate the data you need, with surveys, analytics, customer visits and market research. And platforms like Unifi Biz and Unifi Digital Marketing Solutions — that help SMEs accelerate their digital adoption — as well as SME BizNet provide wonderful opportunities for SME business owners to integrate digital tools, generate data and start making effective data-driven decisions.