Searching for success in a sea of data
In an increasingly online business environment, being able to spot trends and discern patterns in the wealth of data is becoming critical for successNOT ONLY does business analytics help companies recognise trends and patterns, allowing them to improve their business, it can also be used to identify potential business opportunities.
Gone are the days of needing a unique product idea to set up a new business. Aspiring entrepreneurs can now cash in on trends and market demands with the help of online databases and analytics.
People can go behind the scenes of Google to see what is being searched for, and what products are most popular, thus identifying new business ideas, according to Shane Nolan, country manager for Google in Ireland.
“Furthermore, tools such as Google Insights and Analytics are vital for businesses to ensure they don’t miss a potential opportunity. Without them, it’s really difficult to gauge how well your website is doing. There is an element of blindness to marketing and advertising offline, but online you can see data instantly.”
Voltaire Diamonds founder Séamus Fahy opened a London office earlier this year after discovering through Google Analytics that his business website was receiving a lot of hits from England’s capital.
Google Analytics helps business owners to see how many customers their website is attracting, where the customers are from, how users are engaging with the site, which parts of the site are performing well and how visitors interact with sharing features.
“When I set up the Voltaire Diamonds website I signed up to Google Analytics so I could monitor hits to the site. I could see 10 per cent of hits were coming from the UK, particularly London, so decided to open an office there and we’re doing very well,” he says.
Fahy uses Google Analytics to see how many visitors he gets to the website, where they are from and what they are most interested in.
“I think the hits we were getting from London were mostly Irish people as they were searching for things like ‘engagement rings Dublin’ and getting to my site from that.”
People can also find business ideas by looking at top searches on Google with the help of Google Insights, and identifying what’s trending/popular, according to Ciaran Buckley, head of marketing and strategy at Farrelly Mitchell business consultants.
He believes the identification of trends in business is the key to entrepreneurial success.
“Steve Jobs could see trends in computers and what was going to last. The same goes for Michael O’Leary. He realised that down the road people would treat planes like a bus – they would want to use them often and cheaply.
“Anyone can have a business now,” he says. “Before, we used to think in bricks and mortar – you weren’t a retailer unless you had a shop in a building. People are turning towards internet shopping more and more though and web-based businesses are becoming more popular. The thing about them is you don’t need a completely new and unique idea to set up an ecommerce business.