/ What modern BI can do for startups: An expert’s take

The total economic impact of Domo on organizations is well documented. Over the last several years, Forrester Consulting has conducted numerous studies on how Domo affects businesses’ bottom lines.

The latest of those studies was published earlier this year and focused on four small- to medium-sized operations that, collectively, experienced an ROI in Domo of 345% over a three-year period.

Odele Beauty was not one of the operations Forrester examined. But it is a small business. And it does use Domo. Which is why Odele Co-Founder Britta Chatterjee made for such a compelling guest alongside Forrester Principal Consultant Dean Davison during a recent Domo webinar I hosted.

After Dean talked about the methodical process Forrester employs to build its TEI studies, Britta addressed questions I posed around how Domo has helped Odele make a name for itself in the highly competitive world of haircare and bodycare products—even as one of the most disruptive global events of the past century was unfolding.

“Launching something like this was always going to be a challenge,” Britta said. “But it became even more challenging once you threw in the uncertainty of COVID.”

To overcome the challenges, Britta, her colleagues, and I worked together to build a data foundation that could set Odele up for success, no matter the obstacles. The pillars were four analytics-and-BI-related questions she believes any entrepreneur needs to ask themselves when launching a startup.

1 – What are our key economic drivers?

Whether you’re a business-to-business (B2B) service provider or a consumer brand, you have economic drivers. But what you really need to monitor—at least at the outset—are the most important ones, because they form the heart of your financial model and are what your investors care about the most, Britta said.

“You’re looking for the key metrics, the things you can build everything off of,” she added. “For us, it was, of course, profitability, but also unit velocity—or, units per store per week. And then also there were the marketing and awareness metrics, because that also feeds into what the stakeholders want insight on when it comes to the risk they are taking.”

2 – Are we seeing the whole picture?

Britta is a big believer in this question because of what happened to Odele after being mentioned on NBC’s Today show.

In short, despite the national exposure, Odele sales did not spike in certain markets. But because the company’s leadership team was able to drill into the data, it was also able to determine that a news interruption had prevented viewers in a particular time zone from seeing the segment.

“Without the ability to look behind the curtain and examine data on a detailed level, we would’ve missed that entirely,” Britta said. “And we would have just made an assumption, and that could have led to a waterfall of (bad) decisions.”

3 – How do I balance what my gut tells me with what the data tells me?

There are going to be times when your intuition is saying one thing while the data is saying another. That happens, Britta said. If you know what you’re after, though, it’s easier to “click things together.”

“It’s OK to admit there’s subjectivity in our analysis,” she continued. “We’re human. But that’s where data can help. It can either back up what you’re thinking, or it can make you realize, ‘Oh, wow, I need to re-evaluate.’

“I think that’s a really powerful dynamic for anyone working with data—and certainly for an entrepreneur who has limited resources and time.”

4 – Are we able to make predictions with accuracy?

It’s one thing for the wheels on the day-to-day to be rolling. It’s another to find the next gear, which is the one that allows you to see and act on trends so that you’re always “ahead of the game.”

“It’s really looking at some of the customer data, looking at different patterns, looking at weather patterns even,” Britta said. “That’s an exciting stage, because that’s when you’re able to really glean what’s working and what isn’t, what you should lean into and pull out of, and so on.

“It’s like being at the base of the pyramid of the things you need to understand about your business, and then getting to move up in terms of granularity to answer some really strategic questions about where to go next.”

See what else Britta, Dean, and I had to say during the webinar.

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