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Research, Research, Research
The internet is the small business owners best friend

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Other Useful Links

American Demographics
America's Research Group
2000 US Census Data
FTC Survey of
Rent-to-Own Customers
Rent to Own Glossary
H.R.1701 Page
"Rental Purchase Act"
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
TWICE (This Week In Consumer Electronics)
American Society of Interior Designers
Furniture Today
Innovative Insights
Real Life Accounting
Trade Associations
North American Retail Dealers Association
American Innerspring Manufacturers
Futon Association
Home Furnishings International Association
International Furniture Rental Assn.
Rental Management Magazine
TRIB Group


One of the biggest benefits to the Internet is instant access to data that, 10 years ago, would have taken weeks to gather.

The three keys to business success are location, location, location. But to choose a location, you must first do the research.

Here are a list of tools and websites to help you gather the information necessary to make an informed decision on location, expansion, or marketing campaigns.

Income by county
RTO Online has a utility that will search US Census data and return the average income by county for your entire state. Find the utility here

American Factfinder
Perhaps the best search tool the government ever created.

Other Census Utilities

  • Censtats - Applications available include: Census Tract Street Locator, County Business Patterns, Zip Business Patterns, Annual Survey of Manufactures, International Trade Data, and more.
  • QuickFacts - State and County QuickFacts provides frequently requested Census Bureau information at the national, state and county level.
  • TIGER | TIGER Map Service Info | Maps - Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system.
  • US Gazetteer - Place name, and ZIP code search engine.
  • 1990 Decennial Census Lookup - Create your own extract files from the 1990 summaries.
  • Data Extraction System (DES) Create custom data extracts from Current Population Survey, 1990 Census Public Use Microdata, and more.
  • DataFerrett is a tool and data librarian that searches and retrieves data across federal, state, and local surveys, executes customized variable recoding, creates complex tabulations and business graphics. Current Population Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, American Community Survey, American Housing Survey, Small Area Income Poverty Estimates, Population Estimates, Economic Census Areawide Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics data, Centers for Disease Control data, and more.
  • Downloadable Software

    • CD-ROM Software Correction/Update - Software, user notes, data file revisions and more for those who have purchased CD-ROM products from our Customer Services office.
    • Extract Software - General purpose data display and extraction tool that works with Census Bureau CD-ROMs recorded in dBASE format - (for: IBM-PC's and compatibles with CD-ROM player)
    • VPLX Software - Variance Estimation for Complex Samples (for IBM-PC's and compatibles and UNIX [Sun/Solaris])
    • CSPro (Census and Survey Processing System) is a public-domain software package for entering, tabulating and mapping census and survey data.
    • IMPS software - The Integrated Microcomputer Processing System (IMPS) software performs the major tasks of census and survey processing.

US Small Business Administration
The SBA website offers a wealth of research information

Also, be sure to visit SBA's Online Library which contains a wealth of information, including SBA Publications on small business management, Fact Sheets, online workbooks, success series and more.

US Commerce Department
State Commerce Departments can be an invaluable resource for existing businesses and startups.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Download maps of any county in the US.

Traffic Count
There are many companies that sell traffic count maps. Datametrix is one example. However many States and Municipalities have traffic count data available online. North Texas is a good example. Click here to search google for traffic count info on your area.

Market Analysis
The University of Wisconsin has an excellent series titled "Downtown and Business District Market Analysis". 

Part I: Understanding Market Conditions

  1. Getting Started
  2. Creating a Building and Business Inventory
  3. Surveying Business Operators
  4. Analyzing Your Business Mix
  5. Analyzing Your Trade Area
  6. Analyzing Local Economics
  7. Analyzing Customer Demographics and Lifestyles
  8. Assessing Consumer Attitudes

Part II: Identifying Market Opportunities by Sector

  1. Evaluating Retail Opportunities
  2. Evaluating Service Business Opportunities
  3. Evaluating Restaurant Opportunities
  4. Evaluating Entertainment and Theater Opportunities
  5. Evaluating Residential Opportunities
  6. Evaluating Office Market Opportunities
  7. Evaluating Lodging Opportunities

Part III: Drawing Conclusions and Developing Recommendations

  1. Business Retention, Expansion and Recruitment
  2. Niche Development
  3. Space Utilization
  4. Marketing Plan
  5. Putting your Market Analysis to Work

Market Analysis Examples

The internet opens up an unlimited supply of information. Use it to your advantage.

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