It tells me for example that shoe retailers selling

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Unformatted text preview: and links to sample plans and other information sources. Both these sites have links to the Ask the Experts team of volunteer experts who respond to general questions about business planning, entrepreneuring, and marketing planning. You can post your question and receive an answer as an email reply. There are more than 4,000 answers currently available in the database. CHAPTER 9: THE BUSINESS YOU’RE IN 9.7 Government Sites We describe the U.S. Census Bureau site in the upcoming sections on market analysis, Chapter 10: Know Your Market and Chapter 12: Your Target Market. Also, be sure to visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) website at: www.sba.gov. U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION WEBSITE The Small Business Administration website offers a wealth of free information, and links to other sources as well. And Many Others There’s no easy way to keep track of all the business information sites on the Web. New sites appear every day, existing sites change, and old sites sometimes close. Use your main search engines and go from there, learning to search, looking for leads. Financial Profiles and Ratios There’s no substitute for composite industry data showing standard financials for your type of business. For example, Business Plan Pro®, www.paloalto.com/sp/bp/, includes thousands of industry data reports showing average sales growth over five years, average profitability, and balance sheet numbers for different types of businesses classified according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) listings and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The data is tied into the ratios table of the product, so users can automatically compare their own numbers to standard industry profiles. HURDLE: THE BOOK 9.8 ON BUSINESS PLANNING This information can be very valuable. It tells me, for example, that shoe retailers selling less than $1 million per year make an average of 42 percent gross margin, they spend an average of 40 percent on operating expenses, and they net about one percent of sales as profits. The source of this data, Integra Information Systems, mainta...
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