Database Resources Available at the SBDC

By Ross Miller, Director, Illinois Small Business Development Center

It has often been said, “knowledge is power.” Knowledge is gained by information and information is gleaned from data. Our Center has a number of great resources available to help entrepreneurs see the market they are (or want to be) selling to or competing in. The databases we currently subscribe to allow our clients to better understand their business, their customers and their competitors.

Reference USA – This is a database with a vast amount of business and consumer data for the United States.

  • The business section allows you to determine the size of a commercial market. By selecting certain variables in developing the list, we can find specific companies that could be potential customers in the future. An example of this type of search would be retail stores in the tri-county area with over 10,000 square feet of facilities that might be a good sales prospect list for a carpet cleaning or floor buffing service.
  • On the consumer side, a list can be developed not only on demographic information, but also psychographic characteristics.
  • For  example: there are 4,315 consumers in the Peoria Metro area, with income of over $100,000 a year, who have children present in the home, and have an interest in gardening. A landscaping or gardening services company could focus advertising to this target market. A majority of this market will be working long hours, have limited free-time, spend that free-time with family, but still want to have a nicely landscaped yard with maintained flower beds and a garden.

This information will help a business better understand the size of a market and the characteristics of the market. In addition, a heat map can show the concentrations of a market within the metro area. This will help a business focus a marketing effort to certain neighborhoods or communities.

IBIS World provides industry research that is updated quarterly and covers over a 1,000 industry types. These reports show the current size of the US market, market leader companies, threats and opportunities.

  • New businesses can better understand the market on a national level and utilize this information to differentiate from the competition.
  • Existing businesses can use this information to identify what difficulties are facing other competitors and address the problem as it pertains to their own business.
  • This can also be a tool to better understand the industry of business-to business customers.

Both of these resources could be helpful tools to address business challenges. Contact our center today to find what information we can provide you to develop a marketing strategy that will help your business grow. Contact Ross Miller at (309) 677-2992.