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I can now proceed to the next stage of my market survey.

"How many customers are there in my market?"

There are many sources of information:


One of the best and the easiest to use is City Hall. They can tell me how many men, women and schoolchildren there are in the city. They can also provide me with global evaluation of homes, by ward, which I can transpose to my map. This will give me an idea of the financial status within my market.


The next source of information is my closest public library and the librarians who work there.

To properly use their services I will clearly write out what I want to know about my market, based on my definition of my customer. If my customer is everybody without exception, I will look for total population statistics in my market. If it is only men or women, these same publications will also give me this information, as well as age groups, income levels or general types of occupation. This is where librarians can really help me find the data I need, to determine the size of my market. If the information is not available, the librarian will offer suggestions where it can be found.

If I define my future client (his profile) properly, I can ask a librarian where I can find the necessary publications and to direct me to other sources of information on my future client.


- Other sources of information include Newspaper reference centres, there is a central file kept at these centres, where every subject ever written about in the newspaper can be consulted. Usually use of this file is either free or for a very low fee.


- There are also computerized, government and privately owned Data Banks. These may be exploited on a fee basis. The fee is usually structured according to the location of the information, its size and complexity. Before going to these services, the question of "how much" might prevent unpleasant surprises, when the bill arrives.


- Associations, professional or otherwise, may also be information sources. Local and regional clubs such as the Rotary club, the Shriners, Professional Associations and the various Chambers of Commerce, located in the municipalities, within my market.


- Finally, reference I may get from various people I talk to in the course of my research becomes important input. These references and of course my own hard work are probably the most important benefits of my research and these are side effects of finding the information I needed in the first place.

These people can develop into a network of information that, throughout my business life, can provide me with the means of checking out a new idea, discover what my competitors are doing an how, verify rumors, or just to ask advice from a non-competitive but objective source. These contacts will be priceless later on when I start my new business.