Business Resources

Dear Readers,

We’re going to go in a slightly different direction with this post – resources.

So, how does a small business go about finding new potential customers, clients, or partners? There’s LinkedIn, but that’s limited by the reach of your network and is extremely time consuming. There’s Local Chambers of Commerce, but that’s limited to small areas and opt-in membership – while they can be good resources for networking activities, they’re not very useful for larger scale campaigns. And most marketing database providers are cost prohibitive for all but the richest of small businesses.

So what is the answer? I don’t know if it’s because I spent so much time out of the country that I didn’t even consider this on my own (it wasn’t until somebody recommended a specific resource that this hit my radar), but your local library can be an amazing, free resource. Sure, depending on the community you live in, your local library may be more or less useful – but I’m certain you can not only find a library with the resources you need in the area, but also a friend or associate that can get you access.

I happen to be lucky in that I have access to a library with tremendous resources – they even have a digital production studio where my latest video was shot. But more relevant to our discussion, they provide access to a wealth of databases – and with my library, I can access them from the comfort of my home office! There are 18 databases listed under the Business/Investing category, most of which are accessible remotely.

The database that was recommended to me is ReferenceUSA, but I just recently checked out some others and found DemographicsNOW to be an amazing resource! The list you download will still require some work to be really useful – in my case, I chose Upwork to find an Internet scraper for $4/hour.

I was able to download lists consisting of more than 5,000 unique business entries (yes, unique businesses, not unique contacts) that are potential referral partners within a 20 mile radius. And at a rate of $4/hr, I expect my actionable contact list will cost me around $350. Compare that to the cheapest commercial database, and you can see why I’m excited enough to write a blog post about it.

Well, that’s all for this week, but be sure to continue checking n weekly for more helpful sales related tips. Or better yet, click on the link in the top right corner of the blog page to receive updates directly to your inbox.

Until next week!

Rick, your Chicagoland Sales Strategist

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