from the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal…
With databases worth tens of thousands of dollars and expertise in how to use them, Adult Services Librarian Peggy Branaman has turned a Kitsap Regional Library card into a must-have tool for local entrepreneurs.
The former insurance agent combines knowledge gleaned from 10 years in the business world with the research savvy of a 20-year library veteran to show business owners how to investigate the competition and identify potential customers.
She’s also available to meet one-on-one with anyone who wants a tutorial on the library’s business resources. Entrepreneurs don’t even have to go to the Poulsbo library where she’s based, she’ll go to them.
And the price tag for both her expertise and access to the databases is one even the smallest start-up can afford — free.
Her favorite information sources include:
• ReferenceUSA — A business and residential telephone and reverse directory, this database can be used to identify markets, research other businesses and find professionals for networking. Business data includes the number of employees working for a business, square footage and whether it’s been around less than six months. You can also find out what businesses have closed in a particular area. Branaman has used the database to create a spreadsheet of apartment buildings across the country by size, and to identify African-American business owners in Kitsap County.
• DemographicsNow — This resource provides census data, including searching for specific types of people or businesses located within a set distance from your business. The database can generate charts, tables and maps to help entrepreneurs understand their communities, customers and competitors.