If you’re like me, you’d rather sleep on a bed of chainsaws than dig through, compile, calculate and make sense of business data. It’s the last thing on my to-do list. 

But, I really enjoy making good (game changing!) business decisions. Who’s with me?! Good decisions keep me in business. And more often than not, those winning decisions are backed by data. 

Data gives small businesses the “useful truths” they need to take action and win.

Simple truths like knowing how many of your customers are returning each week, or what your top selling products were today, these are the insights you need to take data-led action.

And, it’s never been more important to be tapping our data for day-to-day decision making. In fact, it’s become critical.

The competitive landscape is getting fierce. There’s big consequences on the horizon for “data challenged” small businesses who aren’t evolving. 

Let’s start with the good news. 

Good News - Cloud Technology 

It’s become easier and cheaper than ever before for small businesses to become data-driven. 

If you’re a New Zealand-based small business and you’re a Paymark customer, you’re likely using other small business software and cloud-based technology to run your business. Maybe you have a POS system, a rostering tool, and an accounting software package.

Cloud technology is affordable and easy to implement. It saves business owners excessive amounts of time and improves efficiency. 

If you’re in the cloud, bravo! These tools house and track your business data and make it accessible for technology to help you innovate. 

If you‘re not in the cloud yet, that’s okay. As cloud has gotten more established it’s also gotten easier to make the transition and there’s great companies and people out there who can help. I’ve included some resources at the end of this article. 

Bad News - There’s an awful lot of data 

90% of all of the data in the world today was created in the last two years. 

Those software programs you have hold all of your data gold, and there’s a lot. And it’s in all different places. With all different logins. And it takes time to find what you need. And, who has time?!

Figuring out what data to pull from where to use for day-to-day decision making can be as painful as a chainsaw pillow. 

Read on, it gets better. 

But first, more bad news 

Amazon. 

H&M. Costco. Ikea. 

I’m a Canadian immigrant, I just moved to New Zealand. Amazon has been established in Canada for years. The fact that my Canadian friends order toilet paper on Amazon and have it delivered to their door for free, within 24 hours should be alarming to any small business, period. Amazon will find a way to do the same here. 

And, you know who’s making data driven decisions? Amazon. 

And you know how much Amazon is making in sales? $259k USD/minute. PER MINUTE! 

Why should Amazon have all of the fun while the hard working men and women of New Zealand sleep on chainsaws? 

Best News - Digital Assistance for small business has arrived 

Although Amazon has likely won at the toilet paper delivery game, small business owners are leveling the playing field by getting hyper-focused, improving marketing and making data-led decisions that keep their customers coming back for more. 

To do this, on the day-to-day they need to keep a handle on what’s selling, what’s not selling, who their return customers are, what employees are performing the best, who’s not showing up and so on. And they need this information immediately. 

New Zealand-based technology company, Aider, has developed the digital assistant for small business owners. 

A mobile app that connects to all of your cloud-data gold, Aider applies artificial intelligence and machine learning and gives you the ability to simply ask for the information you need whenever you want it.  

Aider is like Siri’s nerdy cousin who studies your data and only your data for fun. Much like the calculator saves you from doing math, Aider saves you from data sifting and chainsaw naps and will also give you proactive insights. 

Aider provides immediate “useful truths” needed to make useful data-led decisions. All you have to do is ask, and then act.

Aider also has a new partnership with Paymark to make it even easier for businesses to make data-led decisions.  Paymark Insights can connect directly with Aider, so small business customers can see how their business is performing while on the go.

We’re excited to offer Paymark Insights customers an exclusive three-month free trial of Aider and preferred ongoing pricing of $39.99 per month.

Learn more here.

Speaking of action, I’ll be contributing more stories to Paymark’s blog including tangible ideas for turning your now highly accessible “useful truths” into small business action and I’ll share more on how New Zealand-based businesses are using data to get smarter.

Author: Kari Viccars

Kari is Head of Marketing at Aider. From a family of small business owners, Kari knows well the challenges and opportunities SMEs face. She is passionate about helping small businesses innovate and takes a people-focused approach to AI, working closely with early-stage customers, developing brand loyalty through engagement, customer success and education. A Canadian transplant, Kari is new to New Zealand and is enjoying exploring the outdoors and learning Kiwi slang. Feel free to hit her up for a good yarn >> https://www.linkedin.com/in/kviccars.