How small businesses can solve data-collection challenges

Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and that couldn’t be more true for small business owners.

The more you know about your prospects and customers, the more effectively you can tailor your products and services to meet their needs. Similarly, the more you know about your employees, the easier it is to help them stay engaged and productive.

For many small businesses, however, it can be challenging to gain access to this kind of knowledge for a variety of reasons. If you’ve ever wanted to collect data but couldn’t get a system up and running — or if you’ve tried without good results — we’re here to help.

In this article, we explore some of the main data collection challenges small businesses tend to experience and introduce you to a software solution that can help you overcome them once and for all.

5 data-collection challenges for small businesses

Data collection is as important for your small business as it is for a large enterprise, but the following issues may prevent you from gathering data effectively.

1. You have limited resources

Small businesses have small teams. That means you likely can’t afford to have a role dedicated solely to data collection. Yet implementing a data-gathering program takes time — it involves determining your goals, creating questionnaires, cleaning and organizing the incoming data, and analyzing it for insights. The “multiple hats” scenario that plays out at most small businesses makes it difficult for anyone to focus solely on gathering these insights.

2. Your technology tools don’t integrate

You probably use a variety of software solutions to run your business, such as a communication tool, a document storage solution, an accounting platform, and possibly more. If your data collection tools don’t integrate with any of your other software, it can be difficult to create a smooth workflow around data collection. That makes it harder to collect, share, and analyze the information you gather in an expedient way.

3. You don’t have a secure way to collect data

Regardless of who is providing their data — prospects, customers, or employees — you can be sure they want it to remain private. Similarly, your business needs secure collection methods to ensure unauthorized users can’t access the incoming data. Not all software tools have the top-notch security features you need to collect data confidently.

4. Your surveys have limited reach

The data you collect is only useful if the right people — your target audience — provide it. But it can be a challenge to get your survey in front of those people, especially if you don’t have good records of your prospects’ contact information or you’re relying on paper-based questionnaires.

5. Your surveys (and survey tools) are too complex

Simplicity is key when it comes to data collection — for you and your participants. Some readily available data collection tools aren’t as user-friendly as they should be, which makes the entire process more difficult for you. Plus, participants are more likely to abandon questionnaires they perceive to be unattractive or filled with irrelevant questions.

Tips for solving your small business’s data collection challenges

The above challenges don’t have to be impediments to good data collection. Software can help significantly when it comes to overcoming these issues, as long as you’re aware of the most helpful features.

Look for the following as you search for a data collection tool:

  • Automation features: Many software products are capable of automating various aspects of the data collection process, including those that can handle data cleanup, data analysis, and more.
  • Plenty of integrations: Look for tools that integrate with lots of commonly used tools — particularly the ones you use in your small business — to ensure everything is seamlessly connected.
  • Strong security features: It’s imperative to use data collection software that’s highly secure and uses multiple layers of security such as data encryption, two-factor authentication, role-based access, and more.
  • Multiple ways of sharing forms: Look for data collection software that enables you to share forms in multiple ways — such as embedding on a website, sending via email, or creating a QR code — so you can get your data collection forms in front of the right people.
  • Ease of use: Opt for data collection tools that come with ready-to-use templates built by data collection experts, so you don’t need to figure out how to create them from scratch.

Jotform: The perfect solution for data-collection challenges

If you’re running a small business and wondering how to make data collection easier and more effective, try Jotform.

Designed for collecting data through forms, surveys, questionnaires, and polls, Jotform enables small businesses to gather the information you need from customers, prospects, employees, and any other stakeholders.

Use any of our many form templates or PDF templates and customize them based on your data-gathering needs. You can incorporate conditional logic into your questionnaires and easily share them in numerous ways to reach the right audience.

You can also analyze the results of multiple forms at once using a table template. Jotform Report Builder is a great way to create visual reports of the collected data and make sense of the information.

Jotform also integrates with many different business solutions, such as cloud storage, CRM, and communication tools, so you can create a streamlined workflow for your data. And thanks to its automation capabilities, it will also save your team time on data collection. You can automate notification emails, thank-you pages, and even report building.

With Jotform, you don’t have to worry about security. Every form you create with Jotform automatically has a 256-bit SSL (secure sockets layer) connection enabled, so all form submissions are highly secure.

Data collection challenges are normal in a small business, but you don’t have to live with them. Choose Jotform for your data collection efforts and bypass the challenges with ease.

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