When searching for business statistics, it’s useful to ask yourself who might be out there in the world that would have an interest in collecting the numbers you’re seeking. The answer to this question can guide you to the appropriate governmental body, industry association, or advocacy group.
So if you’re wondering how many people have given up their landline home telephone numbers in favor of exclusive use of a cell phone, where would you look? Maybe a government agency, such as the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau? Maybe a trade group, like the Wireless Association?
Instead, the interested party for this question would be, of course, the Centers for Disease Control.
It’s not clear why exactly the CDC would be the go-to group for this kind of data, unless the belief that a caller in Chicago can transmit germs over the phone to a listener in New York is making a comeback. But there it is: information on the number of households that don’t have landlines but do have wireless phones, broken down by age, sex, race education, and geographic region. Information useful to those in the telecommunications industry, as well as marketers, pollsters, and more. All courtesy of the white-coated doctors at the CDC.
Though I admit that one of the findings of the CDC study makes me a little nervous: “Wireless-only adults were also less likely to have received an influenza vaccination during the previous year.” What’s the CDC trying to get at here? Maybe I should be nervous about accepting a call from someone with the sniffles…
Do you know how big it is? Is there room for you to grow? And will there still be at this time next year?
As a fish it’s important to know about your fishbowl. And as a person in business it’s important to know about your industry, because learning about your particular industry will help you define your particular situation.
And your current situation dictates your future actions.
If your current industry is trending downward, you should know so that you can adapt. If there’s a market opening, you should know so you can fill it.
Industry research isn’t difficult. It involves three simple steps. Find out what they are with this 3 ½ minute video (which may take 30 seconds to load).
Stepping off an airplane in a new city can be a bewildering experience. Where to go to eat? What to see? What not to miss? This can be an especially daunting endeavor without a guidebook.
Yelp takes the idea of a city guidebook to the next level by covering the highlights of a city along with its everyday businesses, services, and events. And it allows local residents, business owners, and visitors to include their own additions and weigh-in on existing listings.
Use Yelp for the next time you’re in a new town and need information on a local business or entertainment event. And make sure your business is listed for the next time someone else is in your town.
You don’t have time for that.
But knowing a little about your customers is important. Like how much they’re willing to spend on your product. Or how much money they make. Or even what type of person is likely to be your best customer. When you know a little about your customers, you can do little things to better target your product or service to them.
And these little tweaks can mean big things for your sales.
Learn how to research your customers, using the free BizToolkit, with this four minute video. (May take a little while, perhaps 30 seconds, to load.)
Fortune 500 executives have expert advisory boards to help them make tough strategic decisions. But small businesses can rarely afford this luxury. Until the Virtual Advisory Board, that is.
The Virtual Advisory Board, a new Hill Library site, is an online space to post business questions and receive advice from entrepreneurial peers, small business counselors, and business information specialists. It is also a place to share your own knowledge.
So, ask a question and answer a question. Build a strategy, or help someone else build one. Use the Virtual Advisory Board to create your own virtual executive team, and move forward with the confidence of a Fortune 500.
Allen recently posted about a Census report detailing Reasons People Do Not Work. One reason for folks not working that I didn’t see listed within that report: They Had Terrible Jobs.
There are a lot of bad jobs out there. Believe me. I once worked a job folding boxes in a meat-packing plant. For ten hours a day. *Shudder* (Full disclosure: I only lasted one day.)
Well, the writers at Forbes have their own ideas about bad jobs. Check out their new Worst Jobs for the 21st Century. And if you think you have a bad job, tell us about it.
Your company uses its Web site to communicate all sorts of messages: Hours of operation, products and services offered, maybe even some news about good works done. But what if no one can find it?
Discover just how findable your site is with Website Grader. This tool looks at your site’s traffic, SEO, social popularity, and other technical factors to grade the site’s effectiveness from a marketing perspective.
Website Grader also offers basic tips to help improve on that grade. Use these tips to make sure the effort you’re putting into your Web site is paying off – and get it found!
How well-rounded is your life? You could probably answer that question without this Web site. But what about other peoples’ lives? If you were researching a metro area, wouldn’t it be nice to know about the life experience of the people in that area?
DiversityData.org tracks opportunity, diversity, quality of life, and health for various racial and ethnic groups to rank the well-roundedness of metro areas across the United States. Use this site to get a feel for the composition of a particular community. Then, use the provided historical data to see how/if that composition is changing.
An ongoing project of the Harvard School of Public Health, this site collects data from the Census Bureau, the Nat’l Center for Health Statistics, the FBI, Boston U, and several other well-rounded organizations.
If you sold cigarettes and were looking to boost sales, what could you do with a report like this one? What if you ran a program to keep kids from smoking?
Knowing more about the people you’re planning to sell to, or work with, can help you better reach them. Knowing more about an industry can help you better position yourself within that industry. Knowing more about a product or service can help you to better sell it.
The process of finding all this out is market research. And the Hill Library can help.
The Hill collects hundreds of free market research reports – along with industry analysis and trade journal special reports – in the Special Issues Index. Find it with your HillSearch membership on the Custom Search page, or by selecting Market Research from the drop-down menu in BizToolkit.
There are hundreds of free reports in this collection including these, which we recently added:
Use these reports to get a clearer picture of your industry, your product, and your best customers. Then use that new focus to build a sales or marketing strategy, and increase your business.
Unless you sell cigarettes to kids. Then keep the heck out of the Special Issues Index.