It’s instinct to want to cut back in tough times, but business owners should remember what made them so successful in the first place and do more of that instead. They need to be proactive in advertising and sales and find their niche to cement their place in the market. This is where LEDA’s Information Services Department can help. Through the creation of customized reports, maps and data, LEDA’s researchers can supply you with the information you need to make important business decisions.

With access to data points ranging from retail sales to employment figures, LEDA’s team of researchers can conduct customized market research for existing and prospective Lafayette Parish businesses. Our researchers can also gather competitor and consumer data to assist in the growth and development of your company. Some of the most requested research services include:

• Demographics - up to 30 miles from a single point or any standard U.S. geography 

• Economic Indicators - relevant statistics

• Traffic Counts - local and state

• Aerial Photography - 2006 and historic imagery

• Industry Research - custom-built lists and maps of competitor/vendor/customer data

Custom demographics, competitive analysis and industry research may be used by start-up businesses to substantiate a business plan, by a company looking to expand to a second location, or by a real estate developer trying to woo a national client. One of the most common formats LEDA provides this data in is maps.

Information Services researchers use Geographic Information Systems technology to bind requested data to maps on a local and regional scale. The result is an organized illustration that translates and supports the data that researchers provide in report form. Different sizing options are available, and clients can request anything from a JPEG image of the map for use in presentations and reports, to a poster-sized print. These maps are often the easiest method for analyzing and comparing data that is critical in making the best decisions for business development.

The most common mapping request is competitor location. People want to know where their competition is or isn’t, and when that information is paired with available properties or demographics, we can help them see the big picture. The map above is an example of this. LEDA was able to provide a map of most, if not all, of the restaurants in a five-mile radius of the client’s potential site.

The maps can be created with multiple layers of data that can be added or taken away as needed to best illustrate the project. For example, the restaurant map could also include traffic counts at specific intersections as well as population density of males 18-44, or families with children, residents age 60 and older, or whatever the target market is. Having the ability to visualize his target market between possible locations, while identifying major competitors, allows our client to make confident decisions.

The map to the left pinpoints the locations of recently permitted and built apartments in Lafayette. From this map, the real estate developer can see where a need exists for multi-family housing. Armed with this information, the developer and our researchers can search acadianaprospector.com, a database of available buildings and property in the six-parish region, for compatible property for possible development.

LEDA can’t offer a crystal ball and tell you what is best for your business. What we can offer is the most complete and accurate data available. And at the right price — free. That’s definitely good for business.

Because of diversification — with heavy influence from energy, health care and the creative class — our economy will likely remain somewhat more robust or at least stable compared to much of the nation. But, it’s also because of diversification that we may eventually feel the impact of the national economy in more than just the energy sector. Things may get tougher, but the entrepreneurial spirit of our community will keep us headed in the right direction. The biggest challenge will be to keep a positive attitude.

With the local economy still doing better than much of the nation, it is time for Lafayette and Acadiana to take advantage of that. We need to leverage our economic advantage to gain positive national attention — such as a January Good Morning America report highlighting Lafayette’s low unemployment rate — and use that attention to bring people back to the area who left for other opportunities

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