By Walter Moore
Starting up a business is one of the most exciting moments in the life of an entrepreneur. But at the same time, it is also very challenging and perhaps the toughest assignment. Besides putting in long hours of hard work and doing a lot of running about while attending to an almost never-ending to-do list, the hands of entrepreneurs are always overflowing. As startups aim to meet the needs of the marketplace by developing a viable business model, how well it takes off from the ground and keeps rolling depends on the effective management of employees, customers and inventory. This is true from all sizes of businesses.
Another aspect that is common for all businesses, including startups, to ensure that they have a robust data management system in place. It allows slicing and dicing data to gather valuable insights about business operations and exercise better control of the parameters that impact the business outcome. Databases are now an integral part of any business because it is not just a data storehouse but a workshop for processing data to extract the most useful information and use it for driving businesses in the right direction.
Databases are more than spreadsheets
Databases not only allow data accumulation but also act as powerful tools for optimizing information after due analysis so that you can use it for adding more value to the business. And this is the reason why it is impossible to think about starting any business without having a proper database management system in place. The in-built features of databases allow users to manage data in the way they want. As the organization grows, the database also grows big and complex that requires specialists from RemoteDBA.com to look after it and manage it well. Spreadsheets can at best perform some basic tasks of databases with limited capabilities but are no match to the prowess of databases that can store huge data and use it for process management, analysis and decision making.
Which is a good database for your business?
Many types of database management systems are available, and the kind of business and the scale of operation determine which type will be right for you. Almost all types of databases are now scalable and flexible, and you must select one that is compatible with the operating system that you are using so that you can tune the performance according to your needs. Moreover, startups would prefer to go for a database like MySQL or PostgreSQL, which are open source and available free. The right database should have the ability to underwrite applications smoothly, take less time to install and set up and is secure.
Elements of database
The primary function of databases is to store data or information and help in retrieving it when someone searches for it by using various components that contain elements of information. In the process, databases allow users to segregate information and create groups that aid its proper analysis and provide useful insights into the operational area to which it belongs. Databases use tables to store information arranged in the form of columns and rows like spreadsheets but stored in different fields so that its transposition and manipulation becomes easy and matches with the user needs. The arrangement allows easy and speedy data manipulation for users in the way they want. It helps to extract more juice from data by using it in different ways.
Let us now look into the various aspects of the application of databases.
Database for CRM
Startups are keen to get a toe-hold in the market that is in focus and one that they would like to create for themselves so that they can feel confident about making the next move that puts the business on the right track for survival and growth. To begin with, any startup would use that database for managing customers by using CRM or Customer Relationship Management software. It captures every detail about the customer profile and their behavior and helps to build customer personas that go a long way in creating personalized marketing campaigns. Small businesses use CRM extensively for closely recording the interactions with existing as well as potential customers to develop more effective marketing strategies.
Inventory is a very sensitive area because it is equivalent to cash, and managing it well helps to manage business finances better by contributing to the business bottom line. Retail business startups can use databases for effective inventory management by closely tracking inventory in the various stages of business, from raw materials to finished goods as well as work-in-progress. Thus they can reduce the chances of blocked inventories while ensuring that material is always available at the right place and at the right time. Data analysis helps to identify inventory levels on an ongoing basis, and it speeds up the decision-making process by knowing the available inventory at any point in time without the need for physical verification.
Today’s startup will be tomorrow’s business leader and the only way of ensuring it is by adapting the right technology that aids better data analysis for gaining insights to move the business ahead. Having a database for employees is a must because it helps to assess how much manpower would be required to keep pace with the growth ambitions of the organization. From organizing payrolls to creating duty rosters, the database contributes much value to the business. The database captures all data related to employee payouts like salaries and wages, bonuses, commissions and even retirement benefits and health contributions.
Databases capture all aspects of the business process from the supply chain to manufacturing and human resources, and by analyzing the data of the respective areas, business owners can review business performance and identify the strong and weak areas. The contributions of each functional area become visible through data analysis and provide a critical view of the business that helps to make the right decisions for business betterment.
Databases empower entrepreneurs and help them stay more focused on the business by knowing their strengths and weaknesses.