Today, you can not imagine a business or an entrepreneur without information. Information is the basis for making quality decisions. However, it was not about any kind of information, it is about quality one. If they are important to an entrepreneur, then the business information sources will also be important.
When we talk about information a year ago I complete a survey about business intelligence in 30 small and medium-sized enterprises. The results of this research were published in several international scientific journals. Business intelligence is a creator of knowledge for businesses and entrepreneurs. But, the basis of a business intelligence is information.
On the other hand, I worked 3 years in Customs Intelligence Department, where the information was more sensitive. However, there I learned many things because I was trying to simplify and automate the process of collecting and processing the information.
One thing that is important and you as an entrepreneur must remember is that information are one of the most valuable resources of your businesses.
Business Information Sources
If we want something to be classified as quality or important we must assess their source. There are many methods that are used in the source assessing. This assessment is a systematic process which after fulfillment will tell you whether or not to take the information as a something serious.
Businesses can use two types of sources:
- Internal source. Your own databases or records, newsletters or reports in the business.
- External source. This is information from everywhere outside of your small business.
Especially interesting to me is the external source. In the study that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I find that internal sources are used somehow from businesses in the form of reports or Excel spreadsheets and graphs. However, what disturbing me is that the concept of a systematic information collecting from outside the business is not established. They simply still don’t know how to establish, or entrepreneur doesn’t know why they would use such a process.
Examples of Business Information Sources
Let’s take one example. You are an entrepreneur that thinks about expanding the business in other regions in your country. To make a quality and right decisions you need information about:
- Customers. What are their habits, behavior, income, desires, problems, etc…?
- Competitors. What do they offer? How are they selling their products and services? What are their future plans?
- Investment. How much money should you invest?
- Return on investment. How and when you can return that investment?
- Reading a book,
- Reading the newspapers and magazines,
- Reading the web page on the Internet and so on.
Older or Relevant Information – What is Better?
Finally, I come to what is my purpose in this post. Often we reject the adoption of certain information in our brain and that is only because it is old.
For example, we refuse to read a book just because it is older. We reject it, although we are aware that we have not collected all the knowledge (and we cannot) that the book really can have quality information for expanding our knowledge. Do I have to reject the book by Peter Drucker, which is 15 or 20 years old just because it is old? The answer is certainly no. From that book, I can learn a lot about business from one and only business guru all over the world. If you looked in the new books, nearly all will have a reference to some of his works. Should I discard book by Abraham Maslow only because it is old, although in that book he talks about the hierarchy of human needs that are also relevant today?
Both criteria are important in different circumstances of the decision-making process.
Let’s continue with a book as an example. I have 50 books about math in my private library of nearly 400 books. The oldest book is from 1903. What I am surprised is the same relevance as the newest books. In all of them is stated that 2 + 2 = 4.
Importance of Relevance in Assessment of Business Information Sources
If you use both criteria for information selection and apply the criteria about age first, immediately should follow the question: Is it relevant?
Relevance should always have priority over the oldness.
Here are more examples about the assessment of business information sources:
- As an entrepreneur, you should decide about a new product. You have a database with answers from questionnaires on such a product from the last 10 years. Probably, you will not reject the older data because, with them, you can see a trend or pattern of behavior of potential buyers of such a product.
- As an entrepreneur, you need to make a decision, whether to expand your business in Moscow or not. After that, you read that Hitler in the 1940’s attacked Russia and come almost to Moscow. Is this data old? Yes, it is old. Is it relevant? No, it’s not. In this case, ignore the information because it is not important for what is happening today for your business.
Once again: Always check first whether the business information sources are relevant, or whether it is worth in modern terms before you reject it because of oldness.