March 5, 2012
As part of your due diligence as an entrepreneur starting or expanding your business, you will need to develop a detailed business plan. As you draft up your business plan and the financial documents, you will need to obtain data and statistics that would form and back your financial statements.
If you use to much guess work and estimates, pulling figures out of the sky, your business plan will be weak and subjective. To make your business plan more objective, you should obtain credible sources of data from multiple sources.
Here are some helpful tips for gathering statistics and data from multiple sources.
Statistics and Data from Experience
If you are going into your business in the same industry you have been working in, you have excellent intelligence on marketing, sales and expenditure data. Through years of experience in operations and management you will gain the innate ability to draft up projected financial statements from this known data. Be careful not to steal data or proprietary information, but use your gained skills knowing the industry.
You should always drive and lead the business planning project, but should you need an advisor or mentor, these individuals can provide credible sources of information to you. Based on their experience and their network of professionals they will help you form more realistic projections. Once again, a wealth of experience usually reveals a wealth of good statistics and data.
Statistics and Data from Surveying
If you develop some objective methodologies in surveying your potential markets for your products and/or services, you may be able to obtain some useful data for your planning. This should be done with caution and should not be the only source of data you would use. Ensure you sample randomly and with large sample sizes to make the data more reliable and valuable.
Statistics and Data from Federal Government Statistics Branches
To support data obtain through your own sources, you can seek out sources of statistics and data from Federal Government sources.
US Statistics and Data
- The US Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov ) provides an enormous catalogue of statistics and data on the US population, markets and the economy. General economic indicator information can be found within a few easy steps on their website (http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/briefroom/BriefRm ). Information is also broken down by industry classification, based on 2007 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. USA.gov website provides additional, relevant business and economic linkages to statistics and data. Please note that information is presented in general overall industry, summary form and you will need to drill down as far as you can get to what is applicable to you.
Canada Statistics and Data
- Statistics Canada (http://www.statcan.gc.ca ) is the place to go to obtain statistics and data on the Canadian people, markets and economy. Statistics Canada promotes their federal responsibility to provide objective statistics and data, with methods and surveying every 5 years. Statistics Canada also has information broken down into NAICS codes. Once again, this source can be helpful in analyzing the overall industry statistics and data.
Statistics and Data from Paid Sources
To round off your basket of statistics and data for your business plan, you can pay for very specific data. There are many marketing companies out there in the private sector that can provide relevant data for your specific industry and target markets. Companies can also provide customized surveying for you to obtain the most reliable, objective data.
Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur
© 2012 Strategy Plan One