I’m Colbe Galston, business Librarian for Douglas County Libraries.
I lead the BizInfo team, which is the group of librarians who provide custom research and resources to the business community in Douglas County.
We work with entrepreneurs, established business and other business organizations to get them accurate, current, and most importantly, actionable business information, rather than a firehose of data or websites.
From my position, I see the challenges facing businesses that need market research at a local level and the difficulties accessing and exporting the wealth of data collected by local government.
Connecting businesses with critical data sets seems like a worthwhile enterprise, and is one of the reasons why I support Go Code Colorado.
Also, I’m speaking up for this project for incredibly selfish reasons. I want better access to this data to make my job easier!
Right Decisions, Right Time
I work with small businesses – solopreneurs, microbusinesses, startups, home based businesses – people with a big idea and a bigger commitment to hard work. Like any business owner, these people perform research to discover target markets, compare locations, find funding and streamline operations.
However, for them, as compared to large corporations, it is even more crucial that they make the right decision at the right time in order to grow their business.
There is no room for “New Coke” when you run a small, local business.
Local Data for Local Insight
Because these businesses generally compete in a smaller market, industry reports with a national scope only provide so much guidance. It’s helpful to look at trends across the country, but it doesn’t compare with understanding what consumers are doing in one’s own Colorado town.
For a small business, getting access to the wealth of information collected by the state about their neighborhood, city or county is infinitely more meaningful than reports referencing national or global markets.
Access to Analyze Further
On the researcher side, the only thing worse than not being able to find the necessary data, is to find it, but not be able to search it or export it for further analysis.
Unfortunately, that is all too often the experience when working with government data: the search interface is clunky; search fields are either too simplistic or too specific; the results are impossible to download or share with colleagues.
Data is only as good as its ability to be turned into information that leads to a decision. Information is power, but only if it can be accessed and used.
While nothing in the realm of research is ever perfect, Go Code Colorado is a great opportunity to connect tax paying businesses and government to create greater success for both.