Every business owner in 2021 knows that data is what drives sales and growth. While data management used to be a concern for only large businesses, it's now something even small Etsy shop owners have to consider if they want to succeed. If you've been wondering how to properly manage data for your small business, here are a few good tips for starting.

1. Invest in Security

Keeping your data safe is going to be vitally important going forward. You've probably heard of at least one big business experiencing a devastating breach in data security. While it's more likely for larger companies to have their data attacked, small businesses are often targeted for their vulnerability. Hackers, phishers, and pirates are looking for businesses without a good line of defence to exploit as much as possible before the breach is discovered.

You could wind up with your customers' data stolen, as well as your website being compromised with dirty data. Maybe you want your data stored in-office where you feel it's safest, or in a third-party server overseen by a firm. Whatever you decide to go with, it's important that you and all your employees are trained in best practices for data security. Keep all software up to date and use different passwords across all business accounts.

2. Have a Backup Plan

The other danger your data could face is being destroyed by natural disasters or glitches in your hardware. To avoid losing everything through one catastrophe, it's important to perform regular backups for your data. Many companies store backups of data in the cloud, as it's an economical and simple solution. Plus, in the event of an emergency, all employees would be able to access the data from wherever they are in the world. Business can continue as usual, rather than being tanked by one disaster.

3. Consider Outsourcing

Depending on the size of your small business, it might make more sense for you to outsource your data management to a company specializing in that area than to attempt doing it all on your own. This can be a great option if you're unable to invest the time and resources into security features and software or have employees to help with various aspects of data management. Plus, you'd be outsourcing the responsibility and pressure of data security, as well. Outsourcing data management could also be a great way to utilize your data while coming up with your own data management and security methods.

4. Focus on Presentation

Oftentimes businesses have excellent data and the tools they need to manage it but are unable to get the point across to shareholders or business partners because their presentation is so lacking in flair and clarity. Data is most successfully communicated when it is presented visually. Even if you're an Excel wizard and love going through spreadsheets, a graph can be a great way to see the data from another angle. You'll be able to present specific angles on an issue while eliminating the need for tons of explanation or dialogue.

5. Understand Legal Issues

Because so many businesses have taken advantage of customers' data in undisclosed ways, there are a lot of legal requirements and restrictions around data use. You may not think your small business could ever have this problem, but understanding the legalese around data use will help you avoid running into problems down the road.

If your business is run through a website that relies on collecting customer data, it's your responsibility to keep that data safe and be upfront about how you're planning to use it. Data rules are often different even across states, so be sure to look up your area's specific guidelines and keep track of any changes over time.

By properly utilizing and managing your business data, the possibilities for your business's future will be virtually limitless. Use these tips to kickstart your data management journey today.