Research Resources for All Small Businesses


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This post is brought to you  by the Global Business Union

DEMOGRAPHICS

American Fact Finder
A collection of data files created from U.S. Census County Business Patterns, an annual series that provides sub national economic data by industry.
www.factfinder.census.gov

North America Industry Classification System
Standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
www.census.com/eos/www/naics

Economy
Free Economic, Demographic & Financial Data,Finding and downloading economic data.
www.economy.com/freelunch/

FreeDemographics
Free demographic market analysis reports.
www.freedemographics.com

EASI Demographics
Free reports based on the 2000 Census.
www.easidemographics.com

NC Rural Databank
Statistical information on North Carolina’s rural counties.
www.ncruralcenter.org/databank


GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

US Small Business Administration Website 
SBA Office of Advocacy provides research reports and statistical information on small businesses conditions in the United States.
www.sba.gov

Fedstasts
Provides a full range of official statistical information produced by more than 100 agencies that provide data and trend information on such topics as economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, farm production and more.
www.fedstats.com

Code of Federal Regulations 
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax information for small businesses.
www.irs.gov/businesses/small

Laws & regulations by industry 
Provides a single access point to government services and information to help the nation’s businesses with their operations.
www.business.gov


COMPETITORS INFORMATION

Alexa
There are several toolbar functions helpful in analyzing your online competition. Alexa provides a traffic ranking, users’ site reviews, and a list of related links.
www.alexa.com

Barometer Survey
Is a quarterly survey of 600 top executives in fast-growing companies. They interpret the results – looking for trends and other hot topics among these companies.
www.barometersurveys.com

Hoovers
Basic company and industry information is available free of charge.
www.hoovers.com

Corporate Information 
Search for research reports and other information worldwide by individual company, industry, country, or state.
www.corporateinformation.com

Edgar 
You can find SEC filings for individual companies, summary information, and links to analysis.
www.edgar-online.com


INDUSTRY RESEARCH

NAICS Classification System 
New classification system for industries. Replaces SIC codes.
www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html

Valuation Resources 
A directory of resources which address subjects such as industry overview, issues, trends, and outlook, industry financial information and financial ratios, and compensation and salary surveys for a wide variety of industries.
www.valuationresources.com

Mc Kinsey 
Site and newsletter include reports on several functions and numerous industries. You can access full reports with a free registration.
www.mckinseyquarterly.com

ZapData
Free industry reports from Dun & Bradstreet.
www.zapdata.com

Alacra Industry Spotlights 
Detailed proprietary reviews and commentary on the best web-based sources of industry specific content previously available only to Alacra subscription customers.
www.alacrawiki.com


INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Country Market Research 
The TCC provides access to commercial and economic information to help U.S. exporters understand and evaluate opportunities.
www.tcc.export.gov

World Fact Book 
Detailed information about countries of the world including political and economic aspects.
www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook

Buy USA 
Helps U.S. companies find new international business partners in worldwide markets.
www.buyusa.gov

Market Research for Exporter 
Resources for business owners seeking to sell their products abroad.
www.export.gov/mrktresearch

US patent & Trademark Office 
Search for patents and trademarks.
www.uspto.gov

Overseas Private Investment Corp. 
OPIC helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy.
www.opic.gov

US Trade & Development Agency
Advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle income countries.
www.ustda.gov

A LinkedIn Company Profile


Although company profiles have been available since 2008 on LinkedIn, LinkedIn main focus has always been  building a platform for professional.

Online Presence, Branding, Optimization,Inbound Marketing

Errand Managers LinkedIn Profile.

Benefits:

  •      Post products or Services
  •      Share company profiles
  •      Clean Business profile with a mix of company profile, social media and the people
  •      Another sizable platform to give your business more visibility.
  •      Find key talent that is interested in working for you
  •      Connect with professionals who work for key accounts or businesses
  •      Keep up with your competition.
  •      Visibility and ability to follow other companies
  •       Get recommendations from you customers

LinkedIn and Business

  • As of January 2011, LinkedIn counts executives from all 2010 Fortune 500 companies as members; its hiring solutions were used by 73 of the Fortune 100 companies as of March 22, 2011.
  • More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages.
  • LinkedIn represents a valuable demographic for marketers with an affluent & influential membership.
  • Thousands of developers are using LinkedIn APIs to create innovative tools and services for professionals.

Back when individuals would provide information regarding the firms they worked for on LinkedIn, company listings would appear with various spellings and accounted as an individual company as well as location. I worked for a Level 3 Communication. Some folks listed that they worked for Level3 Communications, other LEVEL (3) Communications or Level 3 Communication Inc or LLC. Basically, it’s one and the same company. Well, companies are taking charge of their online presence as a way to manage the brand messaging.

If you  have a LinkedIn profile you may have received an email from LinkedIn regarding a your company profile. Take advantage of this offers as with most technology companies today they start of as a free service, and once they reach a critical mass, they begin monetizing the products. LinkedIn is a free tool for professional to get their profile out there. However, there are limitations for the basic accounts. I believe it’s only a matter of time before they start charging for the services, such as connection or introductions.

Errand Managers a Small Business Service Provider

LinkedIn Company Profile

If for nothing else, treat this as a branding opportunity as well as a key online presence profile. Back in the day, your business would have been listed among millions other businesses on the yellow pages. LinkedIn, Facebook or other Social Media or Online Communities business listings can be treated as such.  Help your customers find your business and make it easy for them to make the decision to buy from you.

Getting started with Social Media


Novice Level:  What you can be doing

Diving into Social Media

Just dive in

Dive all in or stick your toe in and test the waters, either way you will have to start somewhere. ick the three commonly used platforms, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and observe  how others use the sites.

How do other small businesses using social media? Depending on their goals, some use it educated, entertain and/or to engage their customers. What is your goal? To reach new customers, fantastic that is in line with every other small business in America and beyond.

Start by creating an account and take the default settings, dedicate an hour a day, to learn, listen and then leverage. The cost to you is time. However, because you are starting out it’s the most inexpensive way. It is one way to learn about more about these tools is attending webinars some free others paid(Brought to you by Rachel Levy) a site curating presentations by other businesses, far richer content as they have visuals with the how-to’. Check out content from Hubspot an Inbound Marketing firm, they have invaluable resources on this subject just to mention a few.

There is information galore online of what not to do but here is what you can do to start. Simple as the only way to leverage these tools is understanding them, not so much, technical aspect but  as another business tool.

  • Create and complete a profile on Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn.
  • Invite your clients, partners, and/or vendors to follow/connect or like your business.
  • Share appropriate information that educates, engages and/or entertain your audience.
  • Absolutely measure your efforts, engagement and lead conversion to calculate your ROI.

A month of working on with the tools, you can then formulate a social media marketing plan. Check out this basic template and feel free to modify to suit your needs.

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