As mentioned in a previous post, the steps you take to open your business will vary depending on factors including your business structure and industry. You should prioritize knowing the industry that you aim to start your business. This often-neglected step increases the likelihood of launching a successful small business.
There are many ways to research your field of business, and often this will depend on the industry itself. The Business Foundation Series, hosted by the Dallas B.R.A.I.N., is a six-part workshop series that is idea for people new to entrepreneurship the starts on Wednesday January 17. The second class is on Market Research takes place at 6pm on January 31 and introduces you to how to conduct your own market research.
Also, the Dallas Public Library has searchable databases to help you gather valuable insight. For instance, the Small Business Reference Center (EBSCO) has detailed instructions for buying, running, managing, or selling a small business in addition to a dedicated search category for industry information by small business type.
Over 70 categories can be searched from Retail to Real Estate to Landscaping to Law Firms. Once you click on one of these fields, you can select from published articles or industry information. Using Landscaping as an example, NAICS Industry Reports include 2018 estimated sales, number of establishments and employees as well as 1 year and 5 year trends by state and metropolitan areas. Other library databases include ReferenceUSA and DemographicsNow. Both of which have strong mapping tools that draw information from local businesses or—as is the case with DemographicsNow— US Census information.
Another tool that is free and open to the public is the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Sizeup Tool. Type in the industry in the space indicated to start. Some industries, such as Retail, are too large and the program prompts you to narrow down the search. Once you select an industry and the city, you can select three tracks.
- My Business: Compare your business—if you already are up and running—to your industry competitors.
- Competition: Map your competitors, customers and suppliers
- Advertising: Find the best places to target your next advertising campaign
This online tool offers mapping and insight on the three above mentioned tracks in addition to additional support information to learn more about how to best use the Sizeup Tool. While less comprehensive than the Dallas Public Library’s databases, the SBA Sizeup Tool is straightforward and can easily be adapted for your specific business location and industry and compare that to industry averages.