i love libraries. the majority of the legwork done for blue13's development was conducted happily seated inside several front-range libraries. at the time, i didn't have an office and my home situation was less-than ideal for serious business decisions like which photo of myself should i use for the website.
i have library cards in denver, jefferson county, fort collins, loveland and greeley. thankfully, i'm not a cat guy.
tuesday we had the pleasure of listening to Dixie Malone, denver public library's outreach librarian. with a refreshing no-nonsense approach, this former information and research specialist is an ideal local resource for creative entrepreneurs facing the thrills of market research and competitive strategery.
for starters, Malone introduced us to a project initiated by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) entitled "Cultural Visioning 2028." our community leaders are helping to shape the future of denver by studying its current and projected demographics and cultural trends in art and business. there's a great video available on denvergov.org that explains these studies and how they'll contribute to our city's cultural relevance throughout the next 20 years. the video shows how various entities within our community are dedicated to artistic entrepreneurs and the importance of local creative enterprise. take a few minutes to check it out.
another resource we learned about comes from the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) and the group's biennial Economic Activity Study of Metro Denver Culture. among other applications, the document is an attempt to help people interpret the arts and cultural activities not merely as organizations or nonprofits but more as viable businesses that have a tremendous impact our community's overall economic vitality.
the study strives to "illustrate the business of culture" by stressing the importance of participating, promoting and supporting creative endeavors right here in our back yard. the 2010 study is slated for release later this year, but you can get a feel for the kind of information we're dealing with by checking out a summary brochure from 2008's study here.
these statistics, Malone says, are crucial for entrepreneurs (especially in the creative sector) looking to launch their own creative businesses. these studies show where cultural dollars are being spent, who is spending these funds and how our communities are supporting the arts. when entrepreneurs find themselves schlepping for grant money or start-up capital, it's hard data that makes the most compelling case for potential investors. and, through measurable statistics, businesses can better understand who their customers are and where they can be found.
Malone says that if you're looking for statistics while conducting business research you'd be hard-pressed to find a better resource for free information than the denver public library's web site.
"libraries have to compete with TiVo too," she says. "so we've put everything we can on our websites so you can access them 24/7."
the "research" tab at denverlibrary.org is where to get started. the library links you to countless databases where you can find specialized information about your industry, products and services. click "databases A-z" on the left hand side of the page and explore links to the business and company resource center, referenceUSA and infoUSA. these resources are treasure troves for market analysis and intelligence.
another nifty resource can be found at askcolorado.org - an answer engine manned by online librarians 24/7 waiting to help you find the information you're after. and, Malone says, don't overlook trade associations when mining for statistical nuggets. trade groups love promoting themselves and trumpeting all the good things their respective industries are up to - so use their grandstanding to your benefit.