Curious if the world is ready to spend money on your exercise equipment for goldfish? Literally every day, they're releasing key economic indicators from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U. The ITA publishes several thousand reports and statistical surveys, not to mention hundreds of books on everything American entrepreneurs need to know about exporting.
Many of the reports and books are available for downloading immediately from the ITA's press and publications department (gov).
Government Guidance Government agencies are an invaluable source of market research, most of it free.
Almost every county government publishes population density and distribution figures in widely available census tracts.
"A lot of companies skim over the important background information because they're so interested in getting their product to market," says Donna Barson, president and owner of Barson Marketing Inc., a marketing, advertising and public relations consulting firm.
Regardless of the reason, failing to do market research can amount to a death sentence for your product.It contains a wealth of social, political and economic data.Ask reference librarians for other resources targeted at your specific business.Chances are you'll find your answers at by clicking the "Finance and Taxes" link.Or you might try the Commerce Depart-ment's Economic Indicators web page. If you're planning to get into exporting, contact the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA).Most trade associations provide information free of charge.Read your trade associations' publications, as well as those aimed at your target customers, to get an idea of current and future trends and buying patterns.Watch out for a static, declining or small population; ideally, you want to locate where there is an expanding population that wants your products and services. If not, contact your nearest Census office for a list of publications and ordering information, or write to the U. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Rd., Washington, DC 20233, (301) 763-INFO or (800) 923-8282. Government has an official web portal that is another good source of information.Many Census Bureau reports are also available on CD or DVD, or are free on the internet. For instance, at the website, you'll find a section for businesses that is a one-stop link to all the information and service that the federal government provides for the business community. Wondering about how best to deal with all the regulations and red tape?Here you'll also find information on how to order printed copies, including archived publications.Or if you prefer, call the Trade Information Center at (800) USA-TRADE.