Magazine article American Libraries

Small Business Support: Market Research, Patents, and Business Planning for Entrepreneurs

Magazine article American Libraries

Small Business Support: Market Research, Patents, and Business Planning for Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt

Libraries are a key pillar of support for small businesses: They provide programming, prototyping tools, and access to market research, and have been shown to increase access to capital. As more libraries add coworking spaces and makerspaces, they are becoming even more appealing locations for entrepreneurs to get their start. Easy-to-use research databases and software are essential to providing all-around support, helping entrepreneurs understand their niche and get their projects off the ground, whether it's patent research for prototypes or market research and business plan creation for small businesses.

Simply Analytics

After 10 years of providing geographic analytics, Simply Map relaunched as Simply Analytics in mid-2017, with expanded and refined mapping and analytics tools. Researchers can create thematic maps and reports using more than 100,000 data variables. The standard data package includes more than 3,000 variables, including demographics, retail sales, employment, and ancestry. Premium data packages include historical data, market research from Simmons and Nielsen, and US company databases. New data sets are added regularly.

Users can create simple maps of local businesses to determine the best place to locate their new venture, or create maps from multiple variables to explore consumer behavior, such as how much the average household in a census area spends on pet food, and compare the results with state and national averages.

Simply Analytics is designed for nontechnical users, with robust online resources, videos, and tips and tricks. Easy to use selection tools help users generate maps, comparison reports, and rankings, and users can easily customize colors and change their map view, location, and data variables from a drop-down menu. Metadata and white papers from sources are provided for more advanced researchers.

Personal accounts allow users to automatically save work, which can be shared directly with other SimplyAnalytics users. Maps, reports, and data can be exported in a variety of formats, including PDF, GIF, CSV, and shapefiles for use in geographic information system software.

Annual public and academic library subscriptions begin at $7,195 for one concurrent user for the standard data package. …

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