How Public Databases Can be Useful Tools for a Growing Business

This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.

LSU professor Daniel Holt, research director for the university’s Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, says a business only needs one thing to be successful: paying customers. To get those customers, new companies need quality market research.

That means entrepreneurs need to know who their customers are, what they need, what they want, what problems they have and whether the business solves them. Entrepreneurs also need to know how many potential customers there are and whether they can pay for the company’s goods or services.

“That starts to help us understand the size of the market, the potential for us to make money, the potential for us to scale,” Holt explained at a recent Tech Park Academy event at the Louisiana Technology Park.

Effectively utilizing databases is the key to finding this valuable information, Holt says. Databases offer key insights into four major areas: market research, financial benchmarks, industry analysis and competitor analysis. 

Holt, along with Kenneth Anderson, the executive director of the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute at LSU, shared insights into navigating these data sources at the event. Here’s an overview.

Collecting Data on Demographics and Attitudes

For basic demographics, the fundamental databases are available through the U.S. Census Bureau, Holt says. The Census’ data site helps users drill down into more granular detail by geography. CityData is an independent and publicly available site that also offers useful demographic information by geography. 

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