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Databases for Small Business: Essentials of Database Management, Data Analysis,and Staff Training for Entrepreneurs and Professionals

Book Description

This book covers the practical aspects of database design, data cleansing, data analysis, and data protection, among others. The focus is on what you really need to know to create the right database for your small business and to leverage it most effectively to spur growth and revenue.

Databases for Small Business is a practical handbook for entrepreneurs, managers, staff, and professionals in small organizations who are not IT specialists but who recognize the need to ramp up their small organizations’ use of data and to round out their own business expertise and office skills with basic database proficiency.

Anna Manning—a data scientist who has worked on database design and data analysis in a computer science university research lab, her own small business, and a nonprofit—walks you through the progression of steps that will enable you to extract actionable intelligence and maximum value from your business data in terms of marketing, sales, customer relations, decision making, and business strategy.

Dr. Manning illustrates the steps in the book with four running case studies of a small online business, an engineering startup, a small legal firm, and a nonprofit organization.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Apress_Business
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. About the Author
  8. About the Technical Reviewer
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Introduction
  11. Chapter 1: How Data Can Benefit Your Small Business
    1. What Is Meant by Data and Databases
      1. Data
      2. Spreadsheets
      3. A Database Used by Cards for Everyone Inc.
    2. The Benefits Data Can Bring to Your Small Business
      1. Providing a Solid Understanding of Your Customers
      2. Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Your Sales
      3. Efficient Stock Control
      4. Responding to Change
      5. Data Analysis
      6. Improving the Security of Your Data
    3. Why Some Businesses Choose Not to Use Their Data
      1. It’s Too Expensive
      2. It’s Too Disruptive
      3. It Will Take Too Much Time
      4. It’s Too Difficult to Learn and Implement
      5. It’s Too Low on the Priority List
      6. A Failure to Anticipate How Quickly the Business Would Grow
      7. A Failure to Understand How Valuable the Data Can Be to the Business
    4. Case Studies
  12. Chapter 2: A Small Engineering Company: Case Study
    1. Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.: Background
    2. Employees at Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
    3. Data Stored by Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
    4. Databases
    5. Research Ideas
    6. Summary
  13. Chapter 3: A Small Law Firm: Case Study
    1. Jennings-Havard Law Offices
      1. Background
      2. Market Research
      3. Additional Employees at Jennings-Havard Law Offices
    2. Networking and Marketing
      1. Social Gatherings
      2. Web Site
      3. Social Media
      4. Networking Events
      5. Traditional Advertising
    3. Processing a New Client
    4. Software Usage Within the Firm
      1. E-Mail
      2. Calendar
      3. Managing Client Contact Information
      4. Task Management
      5. Case Status
      6. Time Tracking
      7. Storing and Backing Up Documents
      8. Note Taking
      9. Document Assembly
    5. Databases
    6. Searching the Internet
    7. Summary
  14. Chapter 4: A Small Nonprofit: Case Study
    1. Connecting South Side
    2. Background
      1. An Example: Dorothy’s Enquiry
      2. The Enquiry Process
      3. Employees of Connecting South Side
    3. Data Used at Connecting South Side
      1. A Case File for Each Enquiry
      2. A Spreadsheet Summarizing All Cases
      3. Reporting
      4. Database of Services
      5. Problems with the Data
    4. Identifying Sources of External Funding
    5. Summary
  15. Chapter 5: Aligning Your Database With the Goals of Your Small Business
    1. Setting Goals
    2. Identifying Levers
    3. Designing Metrics
    4. Case Studies: Outline
    5. Case Study: Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
      1. Mission Statement and Goals
      2. Increasing Profit
      3. Increasing Revenue
      4. Increasing the Number of Sales
      5. Price Alteration
      6. Reducing the Cost of Sales
      7. Reducing Overhead
      8. Storing Appropriate Data to Cover the Metrics
    6. Case Study: Jennings-Havard Law Offices
      1. Mission Statement and Goals
      2. Improving Client Retention
    7. Case Study: Connecting South Side
    8. Summary
    9. Further Reading
  16. Chapter 6: Choosing Between Spreadsheets and Databases
    1. Overview
    2. Data Complexity
      1. A Simple List
      2. Repeated Data
      3. Maintaining Relationships Between Spreadsheets
      4. Summary of Data Complexity
    3. The Time Period the Data Will Be Used
    4. The Number of Users
    5. The Requirement for Reports
    6. The Best of Both Worlds
    7. Summary
  17. Chapter 7: Designing Your Small Business Database
    1. The Database Design Process
    2. Determining the Purpose of Your Database
    3. Identifying the Data to Go into the Database
    4. Creating Tables
      1. The Content of a Table
      2. Naming Your Columns and Tables
      3. Unique Identifiers
    5. Testing Your Database: Phase 1
    6. Creating the Table Relationships
      1. Types of Relationships
      2. Relationships Between Your Tables
    7. Further Checks
    8. Testing Your Database: Phase 2
    9. Database Documentation
    10. Case Studies
      1. Case Study: Database Design for Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
      2. Case Study: Jennings-Havard Law Offices
      3. Case Study: Connecting South Side
    11. Summary
  18. Chapter 8: Data Protection, Security, and Privacy Policy
    1. Data Protection Legislation
      1. Data Should Be Processed Fairly and Lawfully
      2. Data Must Be Processed for Specified Lawful Purposes
      3. Data Must Be Adequate, Relevant, and Not Excessive
      4. Data Must Be Accurate and Up to Date
      5. Data Must Not Be Kept for Any Longer Than Is Necessary
      6. Data Must Be Processed in Accordance with the Rights of Individuals
      7. Data Must Be Secure
    2. Principle Eight
    3. Summary
  19. Chapter 9: Collecting Your Data
    1. Overview
    2. Data-Collection Methods
      1. Online Survey Tools
      2. Postal Surveys
      3. Face-to-Face Interviewing: Using Paper Forms
      4. Telephone Interviews
      5. Collecting Data Using Mobile Technology by an Interviewer
      6. Case Studies as Part of a Data-Collection Exercise
      7. Group Event/Focus Groups
    3. Case Study: Data Collection for Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
      1. Extending the Client Base
      2. Accepting Credit Cards
    4. Case Study: Jennings-Havard Law Offices
      1. Determining Whether Clients Are Happy with the Service They Are Receiving
    5. Case Study: Connecting South Side
    6. Summary
    7. Further Reading
  20. Chapter 10: Cleansing Your Data
    1. Overview
    2. Why Clean Data Is Important
    3. Causes of Unclean Data
      1. Typing Errors on Data Entry
      2. Nonprinting Characters in Text
      3. Text Inconsistency
      4. Coding Errors
      5. Missing Data
      6. Data Types
      7. Data Integration Errors
      8. Censoring and Truncation
      9. More than One Data Item in a Single Cell
      10. Outliers
      11. Illogical Rows
      12. Duplicate Rows
      13. Broken Links Between Database Tables
    4. Detecting, Correcting, and Preventing Errors
      1. Detection and Correction of Typing Errors
      2. Nonprinting Characters in Text
      3. Inconsistencies in Text
      4. Coding Errors
      5. Missing Values and Outliers
      6. Identifying the Data Type of Each Column
      7. Data Integration Errors
      8. Censoring and Truncation Errors
      9. Splitting a Row Into Two or More Rows
      10. Checking for Illogical Errors
      11. Eliminating Duplicate Rows
      12. Detecting Broken Links Between Tables
    5. Database Maintenance
    6. Summary
    7. Further Reading
  21. Chapter 11: Maintaining Your Database
    1. Backing Up Your Database
    2. Compacting Your Database
    3. Optimizing Your Hard Disk and Storage Devices
    4. Splitting the Database
    5. Auditing Users
    6. Maintaining a Secure List of Passwords
    7. Using Firewalls, Anti-Virus, and Spyware Protection Software
    8. Keeping Your Hardware, Operating Systems, and Other Software Up to Date
    9. Encrypting Your Database
    10. Maintaining a Clean Database
    11. Summary
  22. Chapter 12: Searching Your Database
    1. Types of Searches
      1. Searching for One or More Rows Within a Table
      2. Searches Based on More Than One Table
      3. Searches Based on Several Criteria
      4. Searches Based on a Partial Column Value
    2. Case Studies
      1. Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
      2. Jennings-Havard Law Offices Inc.
      3. Connecting South Side
    3. Summary
  23. Chapter 13: Analyzing Your Data
    1. Overview
    2. Types of Data
      1. Nominal Data
      2. Ordinal Data
      3. Ratio Data
    3. Frequency Distribution
      1. Discrete Ratio Data
      2. Nominal and Ordinal Data
      3. Continuous Ratio Data
    4. Charts
      1. Bar Charts
      2. Pie Charts
      3. Histograms
    5. Descriptive Statistics
      1. Measures of Central Tendency
      2. Measures of Spread
    6. Cross-Tabulation and Segmentation
    7. Text Analytics
    8. Correlations and Scatter Plots
    9. Linear Regression
    10. Confirmatory Data Analysis
    11. Summary
    12. Further Reading
  24. Chapter 14: Reporting Your Small Business Data Analysis
    1. The Writing Style
    2. The Structure of Your Report
      1. The Introduction
      2. The Body of the Report
      3. Discussion
      4. Conclusions
    3. Tables and Charts
    4. Producing Reports Directly from Your Database
    5. Case Studies and Descriptive Reports
    6. Producing Reports as a Team
    7. Summary
  25. Chapter 15: Acting on Reports
    1. Overview
    2. Example: Cards for Everyone Inc.
    3. Further Data Collection and Analysis
      1. Adding a New Column
      2. Adding a New Table
      3. Splitting a Table
      4. Adding New Objects
    4. Summary
  26. Chapter 16: Acting on Outside Requests
    1. Cards for Everyone Inc.
    2. Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
    3. Jennings-Havard Law Offices
    4. Connecting South Side
    5. Summary
  27. Chapter 17: Archiving Your Database
    1. The Difference Between Database Archiving and Database Backup
    2. Identifying Which Data Should Be Archived
      1. Smart Wheelbarrows Inc.
      2. Jennings-Havard Law Offices Inc.
      3. Connecting South Side
    3. Practical Considerations
    4. An Example of Using MS Access to Archive Tables for Cards for Everyone Inc.
    5. Summary
  28. Chapter 18: Storing Your Database in the Cloud
    1. The Advantages of the Cloud to Small Business
    2. Disadvantages of the Cloud
    3. Backing Up Your Database in the Cloud
    4. Archiving Your Database in the Cloud
    5. Moving Your Database to the Cloud
      1. Moving an Access Database to the Cloud
    6. Summary
  29. Chapter 19: Searching Online Databases
    1. Database Features
      1. Basic Searches
      2. Advanced Searches
      3. Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT
      4. Truncation and Wildcards
      5. Phrases and Proximity Operators
      6. Limiting Searches
    2. Search Method
      1. Identify Key Search Terms
      2. Begin the Search
    3. Cards for Everyone Inc.: Example
    4. Summary
  30. Chapter 20: Training Your Staff
    1. How to Begin
    2. Actual Training Sessions
    3. Hands-On Training
    4. Documentation
    5. Adopt the Database Step-by-Step
    6. The Bigger Picture
    7. Case Study: Types of Staff Training for Connecting South Side
    8. Summary
  31. Appendix A: Appendix
    1. Creating a Database from Scratch
      1. MS Access 2013
      2. LibreOffice 5 Base
    2. Creating a Table
      1. MS Access 2013
      2. LibreOffice Base 5
    3. Relationships Between Tables
      1. MS Access 2013
      2. LibreOffice 5 Base
    4. Sorting the Data in a Column
    5. Queries
      1. Designing and Running a Query in MS Access 2013
      2. Designing and Running a Query in LibreOffice 5 Base
    6. Forms and Reports
    7. External Data
      1. External Data Operations in MS Access 2013
      2. LibreOffice 5 Base
    8. Summary
  32. Index
  33. Other Apress Titles You Will Find Useful