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Who are your Customers and Where are They?

Free Economic Data and Market Research

Thinking about starting a business? Or maybe you already run your own company, but need better information about customer and market trends. Looking for information about the best mobile POS system? You could hire a consulting firm or buy a subscription to proprietary data. But if you are a small business owner, these pathways often prove prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, the aspiring entrepreneur has access to a wealth of free statistical resources online that will help you identify potential customers, locate employee pools, and help you figure out how much it will cost to run your business.

Customer Demographics

If you want detailed data about population demographics, the American Factfinder, offered by the United States Census Bureau is a great place to start. In addition to the once every ten year Census, the Bureau conducts detailed yearly surveys known as the American Community Survey. The American Factfinder tool allows queries by geographic location and provides a wealth of recent and historical demographic data including population density, age, sex, occupation by industry, household size and income and much more. How many women earning at least $100,000 a year live in your county? Or what does the average household look like in Rhode Island? If you want to know about a particular customer pool in a particular location, American Factfinder offers answers.

Consumer Spending and Income

In addition to where your potential customer pool might reside, you probably also want to know about recent spending patterns. The Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks personal income and consumer spending. The agency generally posts data current within two months, offering relatively up to date information about the health of consumer markets and potential insight into future spending. Additionally, The Consumer Price Index tracks the average costs of goods over time, giving you an idea of current prices.

Payroll and Finance

High turnover severely impairs business operations and endangers the survival of your operation. Especially early on, things can be chaotic as employees learn their roles and you refine the work-flow. Recruiting and retaining competent employees is critical to success. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes detailed data about average pay across sectors and by time base.

You will also need to know what it will cost to finance your business. Find current interest rates online.

A Wealth of Information

In addition to this external data, maintaining the best mobile POS system means that you’re able to collect information over time from transactions in your store. Leveraging this info enables you to make informed decisions as your business continues to grow. The intrepid researcher faces no dearth of data. Instead, the biggest challenge might be sifting through a sea of statistics to locate the information most relevant to your enterprise. Nevertheless, a little persistence will bring crucial insights that will position your business for sustained growth.