Analytic Tools For Every Kind of Small Business

Posted on 19th Sep, 2016 by Barbara Davidson

Small businesses vary greatly: brick and mortar buildings or online shops, business to business or business-to-consumer, brand new or the product of generations of work. While the business types are broad, there is one thing that all small businesses can benefit from: analytic tools.

In order to be the best in the business, you have to understand where you stand with your customers and your competition. There are some aspects to both that are easy to understand in the moment, but there are others that require a deeper, more refined analysis to really get to the meat of your business patterns. How does someone find your business? What prompts someone to make a purchase? What makes them choose another option? Gain a better understanding of your business through analytic tools and start taking the next steps to improving your small business.


Google Analytics
Cost: Free
Ideal for:

  • Any business with a website
  • Any business with social media profiles or other lead providers

With simple implementation, Google Analytics can provide a whole new perspective to who is visiting your site, how they are getting there, where they are spending most of their time and why they might be leaving. Google Analytics has a wide variety of views available, allowing you to examine every part of your site. Set up your own dashboard or select from one of many online for free to get a daily snapshot of how your customers are interacting with your site. Use the information to troubleshoot your customers’ online experience and potential areas for improvement. Additionally, Google Analytics allows you to compare stats by time period so you can monitor the success of your changes over time or even pinpoint seasonal trends. The more time that passes, the more historical data you’ll accumulate and you can continue to improve on your strategies.


Xero Accounting Software
Cost: Trial: Free, Starter: $9/month, Standard: $21/month, Premium: $49/month
Ideal for:

  • Small business owners who need the aid of an accountant
  • Business owners without an office or need to access finances on the go

Even if you’re super savvy with your business expenses or an expert in financial reporting, it can take a lot of time to pull those reports together. Streamline the process so you can better use your time to act on those findings with finance software like Xero. This program performs basic functions like bankroll, inventory, tax returns and invoicing, but it is so much more than that! In addition, Xero will put together interactive budgeting reports in real time so you know the status of things as they happen. Your plan also includes an accountant that can help you worth through these findings and provide advice on how to use it to help your business progress.


Cost: Free, Pro: $9.99/month, Pro Plus: $14.99/month, Pro Platinum: $19.99/month. Custom plans also available. Plans based on daily page views
Ideal for:

  • Online stores
  • Businesses with a website with heavy impact on their business

While Google Analytics is a great basic tool, those whose business relies on their website might want to take a look at this Swiss army knife of web analytics. Clicky is a paid web analytics tool. While a lot of the data provided overlaps with the basic structure of Google Analytics, Clicky takes it a step further by including page analysis tools for a one-stop-shop experience. Heat maps help you see how your customers are really interacting with the page. The thing that truly sets them apart is real-time results. Google Analytics only carries this feature on a few things, so if time is of the essence, this may be the best way for you to go.


App Annie
Cost: Basic: Free, Pro: Paid, contact for pricing
Ideal for:

  • Businesses with apps

If your business is an app or supplemented by the use of an app, App Annie is a great source for app performance intelligence. The insights provided take the guesswork out of your app’s performance in and out of the app store. Their reporting features include metrics regarding user experience as well as revenue. Similarly to Google Analytics, App Annie explores demographics and targeting market suggestions. They also include some forecasting reports to help you make educated guesses on potential expansions or modifications in the future.


Sprout Social
Cost: Free, Deluxe: $59/month, Premium: $99/month, Team: $500/month
Ideal for:

  • Businesses that rely on social media marketing
  • Anyone who wants to expand their social reach

Social media is an excellent means of marketing for many businesses. Instead of ads slapped on the side of a bus, businesses are given the opportunity to communicate directly with their customers. It also allows you to add more personality to your brand and stand out from your competition. While this is a great opportunity, it also takes commitment to sustain it and even more effort to analyze the results and make improvements. Streamline your social analysis with a tool like Sprout Social. This online tool allows you to centralize all of your social activity into one hub. From scheduling to monitoring, Sprout Social is a one-stop-shop for all your profiles. Sprout also will generate reports to help you see your reach, impressions, clicks and more so you can get a better idea of which posts or profiles really resonate with your customer base.


Stitch Labs
Cost: Free, Starter: $199/month, Business: $499/month
Ideal for:

  • Businesses with a lot of inventory to track
  • Shipping-based businesses or online vendors

Keeping inventory can be one of the most tedious tasks, but it is also one of the most crucial. Stitch Labs software looks to alleviate some of that burden with smart tools to help simplify the process — but managing your inventory is just the scratching the surface of what they can do. Stitch Labs utilizes predictive technology based on order history. What does that mean for you as a small business owner? Better purchasing decisions! They are able to forecast sales in four or 12-week segments. That means you are more likely to be prepared when you need to be. You can also set up your fulfillments to route automatically!

About Barbara Davidson

Babs is Lead Content Strategist and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge-watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos!