The Library Can Help
If you are a business owner or manager, you are faced with a never-ending deluge of decisions every day. Many are relatively routine operational choices that can be resolved or delegated quickly. Others are more strategic with potentially serious and long-lasting consequences. For these types of decisions, some useful steps are:
- Consider and review your basic vision and mission.
- Identify the key goal for your decision.
- Consider the consequences. What are the pros and cons?
- Gather information to help evaluates your choices.
- Evaluate your decision and adjust it for the current situation as time passes.
Gathering information in today’s age of the internet can often be a problem because of the huge volume of data available with a few clicks on your keyboard. Even a carefully worded Google search will produce dozens if not thousands of hits and sorting them out can be very time consuming, confusing, and misleading.
The Berks County Library System has recently subscribed to A-to-Z Databases that can help you search and precisely identify the specific data you need. This data base can be accessed online for free. All you need is a library card from a library in the Berks County Library System.
Go to the main Reading Library website. http://readingpubliclibrary.org/
contact us | hours | reading public library • main branch, district center • 100 south fifth street, reading pa 19602 • 610-655-6350 | hours | reading public library • main branch, district center • 100 south fifth street, reading pa 19602 • 610-655-6350
Click on the DATABASES tab, enter your library card number and you will be on the home page for A-to-Z Databases. This very large data base has over 30 million businesses, 240 million people and 7 million jobs.
Because it is so large, it has many options on how to search and many screening criteria. For example, you can define a geographic area by state, county or zip code, a radius from a city, or along a route. You can search for a business by type, SIC or NACIS code, number of employees, revenue, ownership, square feet, and many others. If you are searching for individuals, there are also many criteria such as age, gender, children, homeowner, net worth, interests, and hobbies.
If you are looking for potential customers, you can develop a precisely targeted list. If you want to better understand your competition, the information is a few keystrokes away.
A to Z has over a dozen short tutorial videos full of tips and techniques on using the database plus an extensive FAQ section. In addition, the staff in the reference section of the main Reading library is available by phone (610-655-6355) to answer questions and assist. Starting using this powerful resource and improve your decisions today.
SCORE, “Mentors to America’s Small Business” is a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration. It is an organization of volunteers who provide free unlimited confidential counseling to business owners and entrepreneurs. They have local members who have broad business experience and are available to help. If you would like a confidential review of your situation, you can schedule a meeting at www.score.org or you may call 610-376-3497 in Reading, 610-327-2673 in Pottstown or 717-397-3092 in Lancaster to speak to a volunteer.