The U.S. Small Business Administration offers proprietors a free new web-based tool to help them succeed.

The S.B.A. has teamed up with a data collection firm to provide the SizeUp tool that gives business leaders specific industry data.

Michael Chodos, S.B.A. Associate Administrator for Entrepreneurial Development, says, "The way the SizeUp tool works, is that a business goes to the tool at and you indicate what industry your business is in and what your geographic location is and then as you put in more information about your business it gives you bench marks about how your business compares to other similar kinds of businesses in your area."

The S.B.A says the SizeUp tool provides data analysis in three key ways:

  • Benchmarking an existing business to see how it sizes up by comparing performance to all other competitors in the same industry.
  • A mapping feature to see where customers and suppliers are located.
  • Finding the best places to advertise by choosing from pre-set reports to find areas with the highest industry revenue and most under served markets. It even creates custom demographic reports.

Chodos says, "Knowing how you stack up to other businesses allows you to make wise choices about whether or not you need to course correct, whether or not your marketing plan is as effective as it could be and whether or not your overall business plan could use a tune up."

The SBA says GIS Planning, Inc., the company that created SizeUp, has licensed the tool to the SBA for one year.

There is more information available online. Chodos says the S.B.A also provides online training, professional business coaches and mentors.