Let’s assume you wish to start a design and development firm for a niche set of clients — retail, real estate, hospitality, etc. The prospect is exciting: bagging your first client, tapping your network to build your business. However, as you might be well aware, you’re not the first one to arrive here. So how do you plan to get an edge over competition?
Besides the fact that you may choose a niche industry as your area of expertise, what other distinguishing features can you build in to entice your customer?
What is your CVP – Customer Value Proposition?
What is the one solution you will provide that nobody else would? The most commonly heard statement you may have come across is – ‘There are no new ideas.’
This is not to say that innovation has ended, but unless your product is truly unique, everything else already exists. It’s finally about how you intend to stand out despite knowing this fact.
What additional service do you intend to package in with your solution that is a definite advantage to your customer?
One useful service for a design or development company to include is data analysis.
If customer is king, so is data. As soon as a child is born, data gets generated — a state identity card, purchase of medicines, infrastructure, furniture, the list only gets longer.
The world population is a staggering number, and far more staggering is the data associated with each individual. Collection and study of online data is a recent development with great benefits to web design and development businesses.
Growth in data analytics is significant and continues to draw attention.
How statistical data analysis could help you
Let’s assume your customer is a mid-size or small company willing to enter into business with you. You are hired to build their online presence. You may either be a company or an independent freelancer.
Analysis of data right at the beginning can help you devise the most optimum solution for your customer. Knowing what is trending among customers, not by guesswork or by assumptions, but by studying real-time data aids in the creation of a highly-focused web solution.
Data analysis influences business requirements
A thorough understanding and summary of data can result in the accuracy of defining requirements. The next phase of design can be tailored to accommodate data analytics findings.
For example, if a particular product category had high sales figures, the website would be designed keeping this factor in mind.
Consider the other scenario — no access to data to draw any inference. Your customer might be tempted to showcase their latest innovation, (for which a market perhaps needs to be created in the first place, let alone sales), instead of a fast-selling popular product.
The e-commerce customer may have little or no interest in the innovation and at the same time, fail to notice the fast-selling product as it was not highlighted. As a result, the customer simply leaves without making a purchase.
If data of the fast-selling product was available, it’s easier to make a well-informed recommendation and boost sales for your web design client.
Sounds exciting? What’s next?
As a freelancer
If you are a freelancer wearing multiple hats, then first ensure you have the skills. A course would be helpful. There are many online, including the certificate programs offered by GoDaddy Academy.
Ensure you master all the tools.
Offer a few initial customers a free package of data analysis along with your design and/or development services.
Note however that your trajectory as a data analyst may not entirely or always be correct. You could deviate by a long margin, if you’re not careful and such occurrences are not very unusual.
To ensure you’re steering in the right direction, draw out the business goals of your client. These should serve as your north star.
Create a profile on freelancing websites like Fiverr and Freelancer.com and offer data analytics services for free. Seek a recommendation instead, after project completion. Build your resume.
Explore your network before you quit your job. Cold calls may work, but rejections could come in droves too. Let that not deter you but only propel you further and beyond.
Related: 13 top freelancing websites in India
As a company
If you have already set up your design and development divisions, and are looking to add a data analytics section, simply offer your new service to your regular customers.
As a startup, one relies on repeat business for growth and sustainability.
It makes sense to market your service as value addition, a solution to an existing problem that caught your attention.
In order to do that, invest time to study your customer’s business and tailor your solution accordingly.
If you are hiring a data analyst or a team, some groundwork may still fall on your shoulders. Initial research and client presentations may still depend on you, till you obtain the customer’s buy-in.
Invest in learning, this will help you gain better insight on your customer needs and how to approach them before turning them over to your analytics team. Eventually, your team could shoulder the responsibility.
Teamwork among the design, development and data analytics team is paramount. Keeping this in mind, your choice of candidate should also be an able and accurate communicator.
Where to learn data science competency
Building data science as a core competency in a company comes with its challenges. While it is exciting because it’s new, there is the thrill of dealing with live data, you may go wrong, but you may do well too. And that is true of any business.
Experience in sales and proficiency in Excel are advantages for forecasting sales and to arrive at key take-aways.
Knowledge in statistics, critical thinking, an inquisitive and exploring approach, a genuine interest in drawing insights and inferences are useful tools besides the technical tools such as Excel, Python, SQL, R, etc.
A good start would be to sign up for courses on Udemy and the Johns Hopkins Coursera Data Science Specialization.
Make data analysis your defining feature
It’s raining start-ups in India and why not? The last one year has seen over 40 companies attaining unicorn status. The Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem has successfully raised billions of dollars in funding, proving that this trend is surely not fading anytime soon but is here for years to come.
A large chunk among these are tech start-ups. The drive to deliver customized, unique and focused solutions to customers has led many an individual to take the plunge.
If you are among these startups, you must find a way to set yourself apart from all the others. Data analytics can prove to be a great asset that separates your company from the rest, the distinguishing factor, when packaged with design and development services.
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