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Your Research

Information is the key to good business decisions. To start a new business, you need to learn all about your existing and potential customers, your competitors, and the economic conditions of your marketplace. To begin your planning process, there is a great deal of good information freely available on the Web. The following websites provide a starting point for your business research. This research is aimed at gathering and analyzing consumer and economic data to help you understand which products and services your customers want and how to differentiate your business from your competitors.

One of the most important aspects of your research will be to assess the industry and marketplace in which you plan to operate. Your research should include government data and statistics to help you make informed decisions about starting, growing and managing your business. Here you will find numerous resources and statistics that you can use to learn more and maximize the potential of your business by analyzing industries, customers and markets.


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

Global Business Resources
  • Demographics
  • Government Resources
  • Competitors Information
  • Industry Research
  • International Trade
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