| By Holly Hibner |
I’ve mentioned in a few of my previous posts that my husband is opening a brewery. They’re almost there, and should open soon! There has been a lot of research needed throughout the project, so we have made good use of many Gale databases. DemographicsNow is one we’ve used extensively.
In business, they say “location, location, location,” and I now fully understand why. It is important that you place your business geographically where your target market exists. For a brewery, you want to find a place where the population spends money on beer and restaurants, you want the demographic makeup of the area to reflect the profile of beer drinkers (avoid an area where a large part of the population are minors!), and you want to be in an area where drive-by traffic might draw people in. With DemographicsNow, you can enter an address and find out the demographics of the people in the area, such as a 3-mile radius or within a 10-minute drive. You can get all kinds of reports, such as the breakdown of how people spend their money. (The Consumer Expenditure Comparison report is one of my favorites.) When the brewery partners were looking at available buildings, they used DemographicsNow to enter two specific addresses and compare various factors.
DemographicsNow also helps you quickly and easily generate a sales lead list. Some breweries make their spent grains available to farmers. We used the Business Custom Search feature in DemographicsNow to get a list of livestock farmers in the surrounding counties. They can now connect with those farmers to see if they can use the brewery’s spent grains.
Of course, it is important to know who your competition is. DemographicsNow has a handy tool that generates a list of businesses in a geographic area or drive time radius by SIC or NAICS code. We put in our brewery’s address, specified 5 and 10 mile radii, entered the NAICS for breweries, and found that there is exactly one other brewery in that area. Of course, you may want to widen your search to include similar industries (bars and distilleries, for example) for a full picture of what other companies are in the area. This is a quick way to size up the competition.
Business plans, required by most money lenders, should include market size. DemographicsNow makes it easy to estimate your business’s market size. It includes consumer expenditure reports for major industries. Using the brewery’s address and specifying a 5-minute drive time radius, and choosing the consumer expenditure summary report for food and beverages, I can see that there are 6,299 total households in that area, and the annual expenditure per household of “beer and ale away from home” is $92.79. Multiplying those two numbers tell us that within a five-minute drive of the brewery, the market size is $584,484.21.
DemographicsNow also makes it possible to assess the market risk of a business. We compared the market risk of breweries to that of bars (technically “drinking places” by NAICS code) in Oakland, Wayne, and Washtenaw Counties in Michigan. DemographicsNow lists the businesses of each type in each county you specify and allows you to then limit the list to those that went out of business in the last year. We found out that the market risk of bars is somewhat higher than that of breweries, and that Wayne County is the location with the lowest risk of all (which is great, since that is where our brewery is located!). In fact, compared to the market risk of breweries in the entire U.S., those in Wayne County compare at only 7%, whereas the national figure is 24%. This is powerful information to entrepreneurs, who can make the best possible decisions for their future.
Perhaps the most unique feature of DemographicsNow is the Quick Report section. Business people can upload their own data to combine and compare with the data available in the database.
Recently, DemographicsNow was upgraded to a responsive interface. It is easier than ever to use this resource on smart phones and tablets, putting all this data literally at your fingertips anywhere, anytime. Take a look at some of the enhancements.
As a reference librarian, helping our local entrepreneurs generate sales lead lists is a great service. At my library, we have let our local Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority know that we can create these powerful reports in DemographicsNow. They are sharing this information with their members, and we are expecting even higher use of this database. What a great way to reach out to your local business community!
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