Big data can be scary.  Actually any data can be scary if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for or how to find it.  A whole new world of Analytics has sprung up when we weren’t looking, and data scientists are helping big business predict everything from the color of socks you’ll buy next to how many TSA agents need to be on staff during busy summer travel days.

As a small company, you may still be storing your data in disparate Excel files, slogging through to find a needle of insight in a haystack of numbers.  Well, there’s a lot that can be done with data for less of an investment than ever before, and the payoff can be huge.  It all starts with asking the right questions and putting your business goals at the center of the analysis.

Take a look at how a few companies have used analytics to boost their sales and improve profitability in this Inc. article.