Thursday, June 26, 2008

How to Get Information on Small Businesses

Something to help both lawyers and business owners. Take a look at Finding Competitive Information for Growing Companies:

All early-stage entrepreneurs must address some basic questions in order to grow their businesses. These questions represent the most common strategic research needs of SMEs.

  • Who are my competitors? Who else is in my space and what are their basic offerings (product, service, price, market strategies, delivery method, etc.)? With whom could I partner?
  • Who are my target customers? What are their characteristics? Do they want what I have to offer? What will they pay for it? In my customers' eyes, what differentiates me from my competitors? Where can I get lists of potential customers to let them know about my offerings?
  • What are the characteristics of my market? How large is it? Is it shrinking or growing? What are the potential niches? How do I get my offerings to the market?
  • What are the trends and developments in my industry?

Let's examine sources of information that can address these research needs. This round-up of resources is not exhaustive; rather it is meant to suggest a basic approach and starting point for conducting more in-depth research in each area. The focus is on information available through the Web, but keep in mind that public and university libraries have a wealth of resources that are often available for free to business owners.