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Small Business Market Research Resources

So you’ve got – what you think – is a killer business idea. Yet, you want to know if you’re in the right geographic location to succeed. You are probably also wondering how many other people operate similar businesses in your area and what their businesses are like. Who is your target market? How do they behave? Where do they shop? And where can you find these people?


Here are some helpful market research resources to get you started:


  • MapStats: Get government-compiled demographic data about any state, city or congressional district. You can look up facts about growth, housing, income, employment, and local commercial businesses.
  • Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey: Create customized surveys and view responses to improve your business offerings based on market opinion and demand.
  • U.S. Bureau of Census: Get regional demographic information, as collected by official government surveys.
  • Search the Standard Industrial Code to see how many companies there are in your area, what their average annual sales are, and how many people they employ. Get free industry reports!
  • MarketResearch: Gain access to national and international marketing reports on industries like food and beverage, technology and media, life sciences, public sector, energy and transportation, and more.
  • Yahoo Trade Associations: Get a huge list of hundreds of trade and industry association to contact.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: Check salaries, industry outlooks and skill sets for different industries.
  • Economic & Statistics Administration: Get analysis from key decision makers and reliable advice fit for the US Department of Commerce and government officials.
  • Valuation Resources: For industry market research, get an overview of the issues, trends and outlook. Access salary surveys, industry financial information and other important information.
  • Employee Benefit Research Institute: Research how to develop a sound employee benefits program.
  • EconData: Access regional economic data.   
  • My Best Segments-Claritas: Access Nielsen survey data about consumer markets – how they travel, eat out, shop, research purchases, and more. Also gather demographic characteristics about your market.  
  • Fuld & Company: For a fee, you can gather in-depth information on competitive markets, strategic analysis, study costs, win/loss analysis, market monitoring, and make or buy decisions. 
  • Hoover’s: Get top-of-the-line competitive business information. Save time gathering insights, finding new markets and learning how to target the right leads. The company offers a free demo.
  • Fintel Scorecard: This will come in handy later once your company is up and running. Compare your company to others in the industry based on 9 core ratios.
  • Biz Stats: This is another handy site later on. Compare your company performance to others within the same industry for benchmarking purposes.
  • ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership:  Search for industry associations by name, interest area, geographic location, or a combination of different search tactics.
  • Export.Gov: Gather information on individual countries overseas, learn about online trading and exportation opportunities, and research industries outside of the United States.
  • Association of Small Business Development Centers: Each state has its own SBDC to help aspiring entrepreneurs. Find yours and access tools for free or affordable market research.


These are just a few of the many resources you can tap when starting your market research.


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Related Articles:
INC: Getting The Dirt On Your Market
Small Business Administration: Conducting Market Research

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