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"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.
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.
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).
And keep an eye out for more: New magazines and newsletters are launched every year.
If you're not following all of them, you could be missing out on valuable information about new products and your competitors. They are convinced their product or service is perfect just the way it is, and they don't want to risk tampering with it. Not only that, you need to ascertain what--if any--fine-tuning is needed. Many business owners neglect this crucial step in product development for the sole reason that they don't want to hear any negative feedback.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.Look in the (Gale Cengage Learning), found in most libraries, to find associations relevant to your industry.You may also want to investigate your customers' trade associations for information that can help you market to them. With all the other startup costs you're facing, it's not easy to justify spending money on research that will only prove what you knew all along: Your product is a winner. Other entrepreneurs bypass market research because they fear it will be too expensive.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?