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Goodbye, Landline — Demographics of Wireless-Only Telephone Users

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…

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What do you know about your fishbowl?

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).

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Business Web Site of the Week – Yelp Local Business Info

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.  

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Don’t get to know your customers too well

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.)

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Business Web Site of the Week – Virtual Advisory Board

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. 

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Who has the worst job?

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.

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Why Aren’t You Working?

I don’t know if this ever happens at your company, but from time to time, our boss here at the library will come into our office and pointedly ask: Why are people not working?
 
And now, armed with this recent report from the U.S. Census, I have an answer for her: retirement (38 percent) and school attendance (19 percent) are the most common reasons, along with chronic illness or disability (15 percent), and taking care of children or others (13 percent).
 
As it turns out, what my boss is really asking is why people who are employed here aren’t doing more work, and those answers are quite a bit different: here, the answers are playing minesweeper (50 percent), reading celebrity gossip on the Internet (20 percent), plotting ways to overthrow the boss (15 percent), writing posts for the blog is work (10 percent), and downloading old ZZ Top music videos from YouTube (Mike).
 
But back to the Census report, Reasons People Do Not Work. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the nationwide Survey of Income and Program Participation, the report provides information on nonworkers, broken down by age, sex, race, education, marital status and other categories. The report includes information on duration of joblessness, health insurance coverage, and more.
 
Data and analysis included in the report can provide insight about the fluctuation and collective decisions of the labor force, and can inform HR programs and policies related to pay, benefits, work schedules, child-care arrangements, transportation and more.
 
We’ve got our own reasons, and maybe you do as well, but check out the official Reasons People Do Not Work here.

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Business Web Site of the Week – Website Grader

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!

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Business Web Site of the Week – DiversityData.org

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.

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Cigarette Preferences of Youth Smokers

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.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE:

We are pleased to announce the completion of our elevator renovation at the James J. Hill Center. This project was financed in part with funds provided by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society and the F. R. Bigelow Foundation. It will greatly increase our ability to serve patrons with accessibility needs.

Please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit our brand new elevator!

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