Information Detective Vital Information

Information Detective Vital Information
Start-up Investment
Low - $5000 ( a​ home office)
High - $20,000 (an office with one employee)
Break - even time - Three month to​ one year
Estimate of​ Annual Revenue and Profit
Revenue $25,000 - &10 million
Profit (Pre-tax - $20,000 - $2 million
A Golden Needle in​ the Haystack?
It is​ said that the world's knowledge is​ doubling every eight years! That's a​ staggering and impressive figure, assuming all that knowledge is​ accessible to​ the people who need it .​
Fortunately for the 300 to​ 500 Information Detectives operating in​ the U.S .​
today, the average corporation, writer, journalist, student, doesn't have ready access to​ the facts and figures they need and trying to​ unearth the appropriate information is​ a​ great deal like looking for a​ needle in​ a​ haystack.
And what a​ haystack! Thanks to​ today's overwhelming increase of​ computer usage, thousands of​ entrepreneurs, major corporations, government agencies, etc., are all able to​ compile libraries of​ information ranging from the effects of​ oil spills on inland lakes to​ the state with the greatest number of​ horse breeders .​
And all this information is​ available on some data-base somewhere .​
But how does the average Joe access that information?
Information detectives are paid to​ find the needle their client needs .​
They primarily use computerized data bases, but it​ doesn't stop there .​
They often need to​ leaf through reference books, publications and, on occasion, the view experts .​
The key to​ success in​ this service industry is​ knowing where the bodies are buried.
Don't Byte Off More than You Can Chew
You will need some basic equipment when you start your Information Detective operation: a​ computer, printer and modem .​
You can keep overhead down by starting operations in​ a​ spare bedroom in​ your home .​
You will probably need some training; the vendor of​ your data-base system may offer one - or​ two-day courses to​ familiarize you with their system, but you will probably need a​ great deal of​ practice to​ become proficient in​ your searches.
When and if​ you decide to​ rent an​ office, and another researcher or​ two market more heavily, your overhead can easily double or​ quadruple, so take it​ easy and slow .​
Keep a​ close eye on how you are growing your business.
Although some corporations have in-house information services, most information detectives are home-based, one-person operations .​
a​ few entrepreneurs in​ this industry have capitalized on their talent for unearthing information and expanded into large information gathering businesses.
These independents and entrepreneurs generally work on an​ hourly basis (usually in​ the $50 to​ $70/hour range) .​
As your business increases, you will more than likely want to​ try to​ establish a​ base of​ clients who employ you on a​ monthly retainer basis (you will guarantee them a​ minimum number of​ hours per month) and of​ course bill additional amounts for larger projects.
Watch Out for Tunnel Vision
Especially in​ the early stages of​ your business, it​ may be necessary to​ keep more than one egg in​ your basket .​
Many small independents don't have enough demand for their services to​ fill the whole day, five days a​ week, so they beef up their income by providing other services which compliment their major activity, i.e., conducting seminars, writing articles on information on information retrieval, and/or teaching computer courses.
In addition to​ providing income, these activities can be a​ good networking technique to​ get your name out there and garner valuable contacts -- people who may later hire you detect for.
Industry Association
Information Industry Association, 555 New Jersey Ave.,N.W., Suite 800
Washington, DC 202 639-8262
Special Libraries Association, 1700 18th St.,NW Washington, DC 20009 202-234-4700
Katherine Ackerman & Associates, 403 Oxford St.,East Lansing, MI 48823 517-331-6818
For additional information helpful in​ setting up your new business, information about licenses, permits, the legal structure of​ your business, taxes, insurance and much more refer to​ the Business Start-Up Fact Finder Manual

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