As a brand owner, proper data hygiene is important for two reasons.
First, real-time data is a critical piece in getting a pulse check on your business performance across a range of metrics. Ensuring that your data is up to sync will give your team a direct window in day to day revenue performance, growth trajectories, and accurate forecasting.
Second, streamlined data is a necessary step in obtaining financing for your brand, whether it be in the form of equity from individuals or a VC or credit from a bank or alternative financing vehicle like Clearco, Gourmet Growth, and Kickpay.
At Merchant Candy, we view the process of upgrading your brand’s data hygiene as a 3-step framework laid out as a pyramid of sorts.
At its base is reconciliation, specifically focused on matching payments to invoices. Building on this base is the process of streamlining data into real-time, easily accessible dashboards. At the top of the pyramid stands self-actualization, often accomplished through a combination of strategy and insights leveraging data analysis.
In this last phase, you can gain access to these insights through the use of an outsourced CFO. For a real-time example, an outsourced CFO can provide clarity around where you should extend your credit line or pay down debt.
In another use case, they can help you navigate the process of reducing cost centers that are beginning to grow in an unsustainable trajectory.
At the core of data hygiene is proper reconciliation systems.
For emerging brands expanding into B2B channels, invoicing can quickly snowball and yield a reconciliation nightmare if managed incorrectly. Each wholesale vendor that brands sell through often rely on different payment methods, increasing operational overhead.
To proactively remedy this situation, brands typically leverage Merchant Candy to quickly customize invoices and set payment preferences so that every customer gets the payment options that they want. In turn, reconciliation workflows become simpler, faster, and easier to manage while ensuring that invoices are always in sync and up to date.
Building on step one, we advise merchants to shift focus towards data streamlining.
While every brand owner needs a data-driven, single source of truth to get a pulse check on how they’re business is doing, Shopify unfortunately won’t do the trick. Critically, Shopify doesn’t accurately segment B2B and DTC channels when it comes to consistent data reporting.
To streamline data reporting, we recommend that brands onboard an automation platform like Tydo, which allows merchants to organize complex data sets into intuitive dashboards.
By leveraging automation, brands can use their data to make clear decisions. For example, Tydo’s Report Cards tool developed alongside Nik Sharma gives you a real-time overview of revenue, orders, AOV, marketing spend, blended CAC, and ROAS.
Automation tools also allow you to integrate multiple storefronts across online and B2B channels while generating a detailed view of each customer and vendor. Leveraging these insights can give you a 360 degree view of your business by aggregating marketing efforts, financial reporting, and operations management in a single dashboard.
After streamlining analytics and reporting, we recommend that brand owners move swiftly into the next phase: refining and centralizing data.
This step is critical in obtaining growth financing. For example, when you look to raise from an equity or credit shop, your capital partner will require access to a centralized data room with recently updated reporting around core business metrics, payouts, and historical financials.
To ensure you have proper data hygiene for this phase, specifically around expenses, payments, and accounting, we recommend that brands find an outsourced CFO to ensure DTC and B2B data is in sync and receivables are fully tracked.
By partnering with an outsourced CFO firm, you’ll receive expert guidance around financial modeling, cash forecasting, tax planning, and compliance needs.
Moreover, you’ll be able to eliminate issues around accuracy and reliability of your data records and obtain a single source of accountability for your brand’s data hygiene when it comes to obtaining new financing.