What Matters: 8 Enlightening Lessons about Data and Entrepreneurship from Marcia Tal

I have worked in large corporations, and I am growing my own company. I have learned that both environments require a strong vision and a solid business model for optimal execution.

To make an impact, tenacity and passion are necessary, as are effective data analysis, creativity, and experience.

These attributes served me well last year. In 2018, I discovered why an established corporation may seek expertise from a small company. I learned that while the terms, “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” may fill your newsfeed, they may not always be the best solution for your business. I found new and innovative ways to effectively pinpoint negative feedback. I understood why companies may choose to share their data.

In 2018, I grasped more about what truly matters to my clients and to me — in data, in business, and in entrepreneurship.

1. Domain Expertise Matters

Large companies work with small companies when small companies think large and work agile.

Last year, I approached a multinational company that serves Fortune 100 to 500 clients about working together. I wanted Tal Solutions to become one of their clients, and I knew that we could create a mutually beneficial relationship. This relationship showed me that a company’s size doesn’t matter. What truly matters is its domain expertise, operational processes, and global mindset. Tal Solutions may be a small company, but we’re composed of people with impressive corporate experience, leading-edge methods, and strong execution capabilities — and companies both big and small value that.

2. Longevity Matters

When building predictive models, don’t disregard the traditional.

Building predictive models is essential for profitable growth. Creating the most effective predictive models depends on several factors, including data availability, methodology, application, and the environment where the model will be implemented. Although machine learning and artificial intelligence are important capabilities today, they may not be suitable for every business’s predictive model requirements. In fact, predictive models that rely on machine learning require more training and frequent updates. Depending on the specific needs and infrastructure, traditional models may work just as well, be more cost effective, and require minimum training and maintenance.

3. Comparative Data Matters

Companies will provide their own data in return for valuable information.

Why would a company share its data with us? After all, its data is one of its most valuable and competitive assets — but only if it is used to shed light on new opportunities. When we can ingest a company’s data and show where it is positioned relative to the marketplace, the industry, and its competitors, we can create even more value for a company.

4. Creativity Matters

Even when utilizing advanced tools, there may be significant disparity within similar risk bands.

When we work with new clients, we often focus on risk management. After defining our segmentation objective, we begin by clustering similar customers based on their risk. We then build models to help us further separate lowest risk from highest risk. But how do we then further categorize our sizable medium-risk customers? Two medium-risk people may exhibit very different behaviors, with one migrating out of low risk and another heading toward high risk. That’s where the creativity of methodology, art, and science comes in. We choose the best tools that meet our clients’ objectives, and then zero in on the specific data that pieces apart the many shades of gray.

5. Duplicate Complaints Matter

Customers who file complaints may complain multiple times.

If you’re in business, you know that customers matter. You also know that when customers are dissatisfied, they may complain — and they may not complain just once. They may complain multiple times until the matter is resolved, they stop being a customer, they stop paying you, and you find yourself with much bigger problems as a result of their complaints. Some unhappy customers submit multiple complaints, copying and pasting their complaints to various avenues — and impacting your business further. It’s essential to understand your duplicate complainers’ behaviors and characteristics in order to meet their needs, reduce your costs, and protect your business.

6. Words Matter

Understanding the severity of a complaint is domain-specific.

To truly understand the severity of your customers’ complaints, you need to understand their sentiment. To truly understand their sentiment, you need to be able to identify the words that indicate complaints in your specific industry. For example, words like “debt” and “loan” have negative connotations in financial services, but may not indicate complaints in other industries. It’s also important to note that severity does not necessarily correlate with a high volume of complaints. An unhappy customer who shares one complaint with the media can cause many problems for your business. The ability to identify these complaints matters.

7. Messaging Matters

Marketing and sales strategies require precision.

You may be an expert in your field. You may know how to create an excellent product. But if you don’t speak your customers’ language, you won’t be able to sell your offerings. Create messaging that attracts your audience and communicates their needs. If you can’t translate your services into your audience’s language, invest in an incredible marketer who can.

8. Tenacity Matters

Planning, iterating, analyzing, and adapting are critical and required skills when developing a business.

Since launching Tal Solutions, I have continuously returned to a process that keeps my business growing: plan, iterate, analyze, and adapt.

• Create a comprehensive business plan.

• Iterate what you’ve learned.

• Analyze your outcomes.

• Adapt your plan as necessary.

By both practicing flexibility and sticking to this process, I am able to create a vision that I can mobilize into action. For small businesses and big businesses alike, this process is essential to continued profitable growth and success.

Tal Solutions makes it possible for companies all over the world to profit from the hidden value in their data. Get in touch to learn how we can help you.