Data visualization is one of the most powerful assets in the hands of small business owners because of their need to be flexible and adaptable. Because of their vulnerability, small and new must beware aware of potential threats and opportunities. Data is the best way for businesses to gain insights that diagnose their business, products, and consumer behaviours. It is only then that it is clear where their is room for improvement and growth.

Of course, this isn't always easy. Dealing with data requires time, effort, and preferably a background in data science. Data is often too dense for professionals to take in at just a glance.The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" definitely applies here. Using data visualization tools to create helpful graphs and figures is a shortcut to using data for understanding the business. One good visualization can tell the owner more about the business than ten different analyses without visualization. A data visualization is more informative and easier to understand, and it also lends itself well to being part of a presentation, whether that be an internal or external presentation.

Data visualization itself is no simple task without some advanced tools. Fortunately, there is quite a large market for software that makes data visualization easier. The rise of big data, particularly in companies with some online presence, mean that more small businesses than ever before have access and control over large troves of data. They are now starting to demand tools that let them make use of that data to guide their strategy.

These businesses typically use some kind of dashboard or management software that helps them oversee and guide their business. Examples include Salesforce, Zendesk, and Mailchimp. These applications generate huge amounts of data, but often lack good ways to visualize it. Visualization tools can plug into these apps, harvest the data, and then allow businesses to use the visual interface to work with the data. This is an easy and fast way to get good visualizations, even for someone with little experience working with big data. That is a major advantage, because getting actionable intelligence with a minimum of time and effort invested into learning how to do it makes the process much more efficient.

There are many uses for the graphs that result from the visualization process. One of the most important ones is to test marketing campaigns. Marketing is expensive and difficult, and it is often hard to tell how much a specific campaign has contributed to the bottom line of the business. If the company tracks metrics like brand awareness and conversion rates, those can be just as important as stats like sales and revenue, so the business needs a full and robust toolkit to analyze marketing. A visualization suite can be exactly the right tool to show the impact of marketing on different outcomes broken down by different demographics of the customer. That's valuable information that can inform future marketing efforts as well as product design and development.

It should be clear by now that data visualization is a potentially enormous time-saver, because it can let the business management team see what works and what doesn't using all the information available without needing to spend weeks trawling through data. In today's hyper-competitive marketplace, time is money, so being able to develop the optimal strategy quickly is a major advantage. Plus, the visual approach to data analysis makes it much easier to understand how the business is performing.

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