More and more, companies big and small are turning to data to make important business decisions. In fact, according to Forbes, “By 2020 the number of Data Science and Analytics job listings is projected to grow by nearly 364,000 listings to approximately 2,720,000,” said contributor Louis Columbus.
Deciding what data to collect and how to analyze it can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be, according to Tim Bainton, the founder and managing director of business development for Mount Vernon Athletic Club and Blue Chip Sports Management.
“Our tech-driven culture has built an almost religious fervor around data as a sort of abstract scientific concept, but data on its own means very little, and the data relevant to each organization will differ,” explained Bainton. “A health club, for example, has very different priorities than a manufacturing company, and that involves collecting different data and using different analyses to get actionable insight and guidance. This is what really matters — the insights you get from analyzing and understanding data, and your ability to translate those insights into better decisions that will build better businesses.”
At Bainton’s clubs, they collect data on members’ demographics and lifestyle preferences, purchase history, social media engagement and the facility’s resource utilization on an hourly basis.
The impact? According to Bainton, these data insights have increased their revenues and lowered expenses, “and that’s led to improvement in the most important data point there is for any business — the number on the bottom line.”
For health clubs, many of which have small margins, any opportunity to add dollars to the bottom line is a welcome one. But the key is identifying which data points are the most valuable to measure, versus wasting resources analyzing every single data point available.
“Some data is far more valuable than others, and ROI is a clear example of this,” continued Bainton. “Understanding ROI and what impacts certain actions will have on it, gives you the ability to put a price on the data you’ve analyzed and the efforts you’re undertaking.”
If all this “data talk” has you breaking out in a cold sweat, don’t fret. Bainton said you don’t need a background in applied mathematics or economics to take advantage of data insights. “All you need is a desire and dedication to build a better business for yourself, your members and your employees,” he said.
In fact, Bainton said many club operators may be more familiar with managing data than they realize. “Serious fitness professionals all love data, they just might not realize it yet,” he said. “When you track your calorie intake, record your weightlifting improvements, or work to improve the speed of your serve, that’s data collection and analysis on a small scale.”