Business Success SmartStart Essential business skills, tools & resources LESSON 1: Using Reliable Tools for Statistical Research Research now shows the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. The secret? Painful and demanding practice and hard work. The good news is, here at SMARTSTART we teach you how to work smarter, not harder. Same great results; much less effort, time and expense. The second, and equally important factor, is access to high quality, accurate information. All your practice and hard work are wasted otherwise. The future of your business and the realization of the hopes and dreams you have for it depend on your ability to train and discipline yourself in pursuing professional excellence. Every day, in all your actions. Chasing anything other than excellence is a waste of time. Focus on delivering excellence and all else will come. Excellence requires deliberate practice The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call “deliberate practice.” Deliberate practice is activity that’s explicitly intended to improve performance that reaches for objectives just beyond one’s level of competence, provides feedback on results, and involves high levels of repetition. For example: Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don’t get better. Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day – that’s deliberate practice. SMARTSTART Business Success Mentoring Program Learning to use the tools of research is a skill that benefits all entrepreneurs. When building any business or creating a new service or product, you need access to reliable information on which to base your development plans. Having a great idea is just a starting point. From there you must make many assumptions about the opportunity in your target industry and market; the customers you’ll be reaching, how they behave and will be likely to respond to your offers, where you should concentrate your marketing for the best return on your investment and so on. Online business owners may need or want to know what differences exist in other countries around the world. And traditional business owners would use this information when considering expansion into new markets or when investigating import and export opportunities. Don’t make the same mistake as your competitors by using the media (or worse, the so-called gurus) as the only or primary source for information. Instead, use more reliable, authoritative and professional resources for gathering critical information. RECOMMENDED RESOURCES: 1. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) http://www.oecd.org 2. SourceOECD (the OECD’s online library of statistical databases, books and periodicals – a reliable source of information designed to support the needs of companies, think-tanks, research groups, government agencies and academic institutions) http://oberon.sourceoecd.org/vl=3572294/cl=19/nw=1/rpsv/home.htm 3. Factbook 2008: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics http://oberon.sourceoecd.org/vl=3572294/cl=19/nw=1/rpsv/factbook/ page 2 of 6 © 2008 Lexicorp Services Inc. LESSON 1: Using Reliable Tools for Statistical Research What is it? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) brings together the governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world to: • • • • • • Support sustainable economic growth Boost employment Raise living standards Maintain financial stability Assist other countries' economic development Contribute to growth in world trade The forerunner of the OECD was the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC). The OEEC was formed in 1947 to administer American and Canadian aid under the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Its headquarters were established at the Château de la Muette in Paris in 1949. The OECD took over from the OEEC in 1961. Since then, its mission has been to help its member countries to achieve sustainable economic growth and employment and to raise the standard of living in member countries while maintaining financial stability – all this in order to contribute to the development of the world economy. SourceOECD is the OECD’s online library of statistical databases, books and periodicals – a reliable and comprehensive source of information designed to support the needs of companies, think-tanks, research groups, government agencies and academic institutions. Factbook 2008: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics is where you’ll find statistics relating to 12 key categories organized as follows: © 2008 Lexicorp Services Inc. page 3 of 6 SMARTSTART Business Success Mentoring Program What does it look like? OECD Factbook 2008: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics Overview of contents Total population Research and development (R&D) Evolution of the population Regional Population Elderly population Expenditure on R&D Investment in knowledge Researchers Patents Information & communication technologies Ageing societies Elderly Population by region International migration Trends in migration Immigrant population Migration and unemployment Communications Educational attainment of recent immigrants Exports of info and communications equipment Telephone access Size of the ICT sector Investment in ICT Computer and internet access by households Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Water and natural resources Size of GDP National income per capita Regional GDP Economic growth Water consumption Fisheries Air and land Evolution of GDP Household saving Inflation Steel production Economic structure Emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Municipal waste Nutrient use in agriculture Value added by activity Evolution of value added by activity Small and medium-sized enterprises page 4 of 6 © 2008 Lexicorp Services Inc. LESSON 1: Using Reliable Tools for Statistical Research Why is this important? The OECD is famous for its statistical databases and trend analyzer! Here are 3 reasons it’s worth your time to learn how to use this tool: 1. One place to go for reliable and comprehensive statistical, economic and social information. It’s your best source for reliable information on which to base your business assumptions, product/service development and marketing plans. Also very useful when preparing sales letters and information products requiring credible data references. Yes, you can also use census and government data for your market research but this company does all that work for you, analyses it, and simplifies the presentation. Think of the time you’ll save being able to get all the information from one place! (Of course, there’s more here than you’ll ever need to use but the site is easy to navigate.) 2. Shows you the big picture (covers 30 countries) in a simple way that does not require converting currencies or performing any mental gymnastics. It allows you to see the world through the eyes of the economy just about anywhere you might want to do business. (The 30 countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.) 3. OECD does all the work for you and the information you’ll be most interested in is free. The OECD provides statistics and economic and social data, analyses and forecasts economic developments, researches social changes and evolving patterns in trade, environment, agriculture, technology, fiscal policy and more. (I used this resource for branding SMARTSTART and also for preparing my book proposal.) They also offer paid services and publications but it is unlikely you’ll need access to this sliced-and-diced information for your day-to-day business. © 2008 Lexicorp Services Inc. page 5 of 6 SMARTSTART Business Success Mentoring Program How can I use it? You can retrieve thousands of useful statistics and view related trends right from your desktop! For example, you can find out: Which countries have the highest unemployment rates if your target customer needs help finding a job or learning how to survive and provide without one Who is most likely to be self-employed if you want to know how to best position your product for entrepreneurs by gender Where do the most obese people live if you’re thinking of doing some paid advertising for a weight loss product What’s going on with our energy supply if you’re thinking of taking advantage of the “go green” momentum following the success of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” made famous by Al Gore Where do the oldest people live in the world if your service is going to be marketed to the elderly REVIEWING STATISTICS AND TRENDS IN THE 2008 FACTBOOK: 1. Click this link for direct access: 2008 Factbook 2. Choose the category of interest and click on the + sign to see the options available. 3. Click on the link to access the statistics of interest A summary page is presented explaining what you’ll find in the numbers. Trend highlights are provided in a summary box at the bottom of the page. You can view the results as a graphic or as a graphic with data spreadsheet (Excel file) – my favourite way of looking at the information. (Alternatively, to view Factbook data using Trendalyzer, click on the link at the bottom left of the screen; this visual tool is fairly intuitive to use (just pick and click in the various menu boxes) and very cool.) page 6 of 6 © 2008 Lexicorp Services Inc.
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