Many small businesses cannot afford consultants or market research to help them keep up with the competition or identify potential customers. But the McAllen Chamber of Commerce offers access to a free online tool that can help.
SizeUp McAllen allows business owners to do their own local market research through its extensive database that includes revenue comparisons, consumer demographics, labor force statistics and more.
“It’s a tool that we offer free to the community,” says Jorge Sanchez, the chamber’s director of business development. “This tool will help anyone with a business or anyone that wants to start a business.” Interested individuals can gain a password to the SizeUp McAllen tool simply by requesting one from the chamber.
The McAllen Chamber has offered free access to SizeUp McAllen for about a year and a half, Sanchez says. “A lot of people still don’t know about this tool. When they start to use it they are shocked at all the information they can obtain.”
Use of the tool is growing with about 100 new users every month.
SizeUp McAllen assists in developing business and industry analysis that can help entrepreneurs “understand the market and what others are doing, what has higher concentration, how many employees, how much they pay, average revenue,” Sanchez says. “This is a very powerful tool.”
The database accessed through the tool offered by the McAllen Chamber can be sliced and diced just about any way the user wants. For first-time users, the chamber staff can walk individuals through the tool. They can also guide them on how to break down data into very specific reports.
“The only thing you need to do is enter the name of the industry. It will show you the number of competitors you have from Laredo, the Valley and Kingsville,” Sanchez says. “It will give names, addresses and more.”
By drilling down further, users can identify and compare very specific information like average revenue and payroll of competitors. Furthermore, SizeUp McAllen updates the database every two months.
Features include the ability to compile information that may help business leaders make decisions on where to advertise. This includes how much to spend to achieve the best exposure in their markets. Users can generate reports on consumer spending for business categories or target clusters of businesses. They can also calculate drive times and create maps to illustrate a competitive market area.
“This helps all types of business people,” Sanchez says. “They use it to decide how they want to invest their money or help them develop a new business plan. Or people in business just want to check on how their competitors are doing.”
The information is compiled by SizeUp, a national company that provides services to banks, government, chambers of commerce, retailers and small business assistance organizations. SizeUp’s website allows people to access some basic information on a national scale before the user is prompted to sign up for a paid version to dig deeper into the numbers. A SizeUp portal is also available online through the Small Business Administration.
The McAllen Chamber subscribes to the company’s Local Business Intelligence product, which targets the Rio Grande Valley and surrounding area. Individuals can acquire a password to SizeUp McAllen by contacting Sanchez or Michelle Rodriguez at 956.682.2871, or via email at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.