If Content is Queen – as I explained in the last blog in this series (which you can read here) then data is the lifeblood of any business. Data is what you need in order to keep your business running. Without data, you won’t know who your clients are, what they buy from you and when, what issues they are struggling with or when their birthdays are. Data is what allows you to contact your clients and your prospects, in order to keep in touch with them and remind them about what you do and how you can help them. Every business must have a database – some way of storing all the data that you need for promoting your business. Whether you start with a simple spreadsheet, use an online tool or have a custom built database, you must store this data if your business is to survive.
Nothing Has Changed
Business owners have always had to be careful about the data that they collect and store. The Data Protection Act is there to keep people safe. You’re not allowed to sell your mailing list to anyone. You must not give anyone access to your contacts and if anyone asks to see the information that you store on them, you must show them. Simple rules mean that you should never copy all your contacts in an email so that they can see everyone else’s email address and etiquette means that you should not add someone to your mailing list without first asking them. We’ve known about these basic rules in marketing for many years.
But now things are changing. From 25 May 2018 all businesses must comply with the changes that have been made to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). These regulations have been in force for some time – now we all have to comply with them and show what we are doing to comply with them.
So where do you start? In the last few months I’ve read numerous blogs and articles about what needs to be done; I’ve listened to webinars that attempt to simplify the issue. Many of them are just confusing and make it sound more difficult than it really is. It would be very easy to bury your head in the sand and hope that GDPR goes away – or that your business is too small for anyone to check up on. Instead, here’s what I recommend you do, to get to grips with GDPR.
Get to grips with GDPR
I am not an expert in GDPR, but I do know that your business will not survive without data. I also know that if you’re not sure how to comply, you could end up doing things that result in you losing some of the valuable data that you need and are allowed to keep. SR Consulting specialise in working with small businesses and they have been supporting my business for four years now. This is why I asked them to help me with GDPR – that and the fact that Jonathan has actually read the book!
If you’re not sure what to do next about your data, either call me on 01635 578 500 or click here to email me and we can have a chat about it. Or contact Jonathan directly at SR Consulting to talk about carrying out a data audit on your business.