As a founder of a startup, you understand that analytics is important, and try not to ignore it. However, at times analytics can be hard to deal with: getting started with analytics tools, gathering your data, analyzing it, and deriving any useful knowledge from it.
Thankfully, you don't have to become an analyst. You don't even have to hire expensive consultants.
Here are 5 creative ways to help you stop ignoring your data and get on the right track with analytics.
1. Ask for help . There are many ways you can get professional help with your analytics projects, especially if you are trying to make a difference. The Analytics Exchange offers free web analytics consulting to non-profits for projects that take under 4 weeks to complete. Do you need an analytics dashboard for your organization? Have a dataset that needs looking at? Publish your project and find a qualified team to help you out!
2. Reach out on social media. Have a for-profit business? Search for people who are passionate about #data and #analytics and reach out to them on Twitter. Data scientists and analysts are often willing to donate their time to a business in need. Oftentimes you can offer a small favor in return, such as an honest recommendation on LinkedIn. I've helped various companies when they were starting out - from a pharmaceutical startup to a book-publishing bootstrap. A short Tweet can grow into a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.
3. Organize a contest. Data has business value. Does your company put this value to work? If you have an interesting dataset, you can organize a competition on kaggle.com - a website for data science competitions. For example, an e-commerce company called the Otto group wanted to find a better way to classify 200 000 of their products into categories based on 93 product features. They received 3514 entries! There are thousands of people out there who will work to unleash the power of your data.
4. Join forces with a university or college. Does your business have connections with schools? It might be the right time to create some. Find out if any colleges or universities in your area are offering courses in analytics. Reach out to professors to ask if they would be interested in offering a real world case study to their students. Guided by their professor, students can provide feedback, strategic advice, and even do some work if the class is hands-on!
5. Find a datathon in your city. If you live in a big city, you might find a local group that is looking to solve data challenges. Google ‘data kind’ or ‘data for good’ + your city, or look for the following hashtags on Twitter: #data4good #datakind #opendata. Many of these groups hold meetup events. You can join one of their events to meet and mingle with their experts and propose your data challenge to the organizers.
Didn’t find a method that suits your particular case? I have one more for you: reuse what's already out there! Chances are, your project isn't unique, and there are other people who have already solved the same issues. Look for templates and examples that you can reuse. Here is the set of Google Analytics dashboards for startup analytics that I've created.
You can click on any of these to reuse them, and they will appear in your Google Analytics!