Looking for research to write your business plan? Wondering how much money you can expect to make in various kinds of businesses? Here are various resources that can help you get the data you need for little or no fee:
Dig into the data at either the U.S. Department of Commerce's Census Bureau or the U.S. Department of Labor, and you'll find a mother lode of facts, figures and practical information to help you plan and run your business.
The Census Bureau is the US agency that publishes population counts and economic indicators. Here you'll find county, state and federal economic profiles and summary reports on everything from aging in America and the number of women over 50 giving birth, to the amount of municipal waste recovered or recycled per person in 1993. In fact, it's the first place you should look for the demographic, social and economic data you'll want to predict the market for new products and services.
The Department of Labor publishes employment statistics, reports of workplace trends, occupational descriptions and information about complying with workplace regulations. There you'll find everything from OSHA regulations, a study of 401K plan expenses, and wage, hour and workplace standards to a plain-English handbook explaining the federal labor laws that effect your business.
If you want a quick way to benchmark your business against others in your industry, head over to BizStats.com. That site has a built-in calculator that lets you plug in your gross revenues and see how you compare to other businesses in the same industry. It also has a variety of other statistics of interest to startups and existing businesses, including average sales per store for a number of well-known restaurants and retail stores.
If you don't have time to sift through the free federal data, you can also buy excellent industry financial and marketing snapshots at Bizminer.com.
Their marketing research reports on 17,000 lines of business contain:
- count of firms, small businesses and startups
- 3-year industry volume and average sales
- 3-year sales per employee and employment
- failure rates
- industry vitality measures
- 3-year industry concentration rates
Bizminer's financial analyses include:
- number of firms analyzed
- 3-year industry income statement
- 3-year industry expense detail
- 3-year industry balance sheet
- 24, 3-year industry financial ratios
- (solvency, profitability, efficiency, turnover)
- 9 graphs
Market research reports are $99 and the financial analyses are $69. More information and free sample reports are available on the Bizminer site.