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How to Find Market Information

Page history last edited by PBworks 11 years, 8 months ago

How to Find Market Information

 

 

Question:

I am writing a business plan with a program at the MyState University for high school students. I can't seem to find the right kind of information that I need to complete my industry analysis. My team has thought of a women's apparel shop. Kind of like the Men's Wearhouse but instead, like a Women's Wearhouse where they sell professional women's clothing and perform a tailoring service. I need to know things like, what will the future growth rate of the industry be? What are the major trends and developments within the industry? Statistical information, etc. If you could get back to me as soon as possible, that would be a great help. Thank you.

 

Answer:

First, I hope it's obvious, we aren't experts in a lot of different specific businesses. We can help you with general techniques of finding information, not in the specifics for your type of business.

 

In general, though, the problem of information is not where to find it but how to wade through all that's available and find the right stuff. You must, simply must, be able to search the Internet. If you are reading this, then presumably you can already do that, so you are ahead of the game. If you are on the Internet but don't know the searchers, learn to use Yahoo! and Excite at least. There's no substitute for what's now available through the Web.

 

For more formal research, look for a trade association that focuses in your business area. There are lots of them. A good reference library can get you a reference book that lists trade associations. Once you find an association, contact them to see whether they publish a directory or (better yet) a statistical review.

 

Next, look for magazines. In most businesses, there are magazines that focus on your type of business, so they can sell ads to the businesses that want to sell to your type of business. Subscribe or buy the magazine, get some back issues, and look for industry reviews. If you don't already have more than you can handle, then get back to a reference library, look for indexes of published articles, and find some articles related to your business.

 

Most important, as far as I am concerned, is what I call "shoe leather" research. Locate similar businesses and find out as much as you can about them. For example, look at your yellow pages and see how many are listed. Call them, find out about prices and things. If they have a location, park by it. Count their customers. Then get a phone book for a town a few hundred miles away, call some similar businesses, and find an owner who will talk to you about it. After all, you're not a competitor, and people like to talk to people about their business. Ask them as much as you can, until they can't stand answering questions anymore.

 

If you can find somebody selling your type of business, contact them. Consider buying theirs. At the very least, you'll get access to their past financial data, which will give you an idea of how the industry works.

 

Tim Berry

President

Palo Alto Software, Inc.

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