Corporate Information (corporateinformation.com): Features information summaries on over 350,000 companies in the U.S. and abroad for competitive analysis.
Carrying on with the example of a coffee shop, a business plan consultant will figure out what the best location would be. They already know coffee shops do well in areas with a certain demographic in place. These include students and workers, who are within close proximity to book stores.
One key component critical to your success is scoping the competition. A business plan consultant studies the area where you will be located quite thoroughly. For example, if you plan on setting up a coffee shop on Main Street, or within the vicinity, the small business consultants you consult with will inquire about the number of existing coffee shops and the services they provide.
If you know all of these except for Marketing, say, then this is where you will need to invest some time and effort. You can find a wealth of information by utilizing the traditional data sources such as chambers of commerce, major cities' websites, trade associations, the US Census Bureau, trade journals, magazine and online articles and advertising, etc. Performing keyword searches on Google, or Ask will bring up websites to check out. Following are some places to start:
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