Mine Your Own Business

There are plenty of places to find cheap market data--including your own records

"Small businesses have been flying blind," says data demon Jon Brandow. Historically, they have made little use of business intelligence: the demographic mapping, databases, and market research deployed by large corporations. That's all changed, says Brandow, head of economic-development consultancy bizminer.com. Now, there's a wealth of free data on the World Wide Web, lower-cost research from commercial databases, and cheap software that helps small companies analyze their sales--if you know how to use it. Brandow, a former union organizer, spoke recently with Frontier's Dennis Berman. Some edited excerpts:

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