News Column

SizeUp Tool Offered for Bowling Green Businesses

March 29, 2013

Katie Brandenburg, Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky.

The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is looking to help its partners size up the competition and make more informed business decisions with a new online tool.

The tool, called SizeUp for Local Business Intelligence, provides local information about local demographics and area businesses using data mined from public and private sources including the U.S. Census Bureau.

The tool, launched Tuesday, was originally available only to members of the chamber's President's Club, who invest in the chamber beyond regular dues, said Nick Fuhrman, director of communications and public policy at the chamber.

It is now available for all chamber members, he said. The chamber will host a training session on how to use the tool during its monthly "Business at its Best" workshop from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. April 16.

"We think it's a great benefit for each of our partners, Fuhrman said.

A variety of businesses will find different ways to use the data provided through SizeUp, and many will find it helpful in efforts to expand their business or start a new business, Fuhrman said.

"We view the SizeUp tool as part of economic development as much as it is small business assistance," he said.

The tool allows businesses to compare information such as the annual revenue, salary, cost effectiveness and turnover of employees of their business with others locally as well as statewide and nationwide.

It can help businesses find underserved markets for advertising, map where competitors and potential customers are located and analyze area demographics.

Ron Bunch, president and CEO of the chamber, learned about the SizeUp tool during a meeting of the International Economic Development Association, Fuhrman said.

Fuhrman declined to give the cost of the product.

Aerotek, a skilled labor recruiting company that specializes in engineering, could potentially use the product as part of the service it provides to new workers they recruit from outside of the area, said Joshua Anton, an account manager in Aerotek's engineering department. The company opened its office in Bowling Green on March 4.

"This is just one of the many tools that we could use to help get them familiar with the area," Anton said.

Those workers may have family members who want to start up businesses after they move or may want to do so themselves, he said.

The tool could also be used to keep tabs on potential competitors so Aerotek can better sell it's services to customers, he said.

All of the uses of the SizeUp tool for his business aren't known yet, though he believes there will be several applications for it in banking, said Dan Harbison, president and CEO of Farmers National Bank.

His bank already does performance benchmarking -- comparing businesses to other similar companies -- when underwriting a loan, Harbison said. He expects that the SizeUp tool will be able to replace the current system that his bank is using.

"We're going to essentially get the same information for free as a member," he said.

The information provided through SizeUp may be better than what they currently have because more regional information is available, Harbison said.

It may also be helpful when budgeting for loans and losses for the bank by adding information to assessments of local economic conditions, he said.

"I've got to think that data, once we have it available to us, will be beneficial," Harbison said.

Source: (c)2013 the Daily News (Bowling Green, Ky.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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