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Building & Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Information Professional by Mary Ellen Bates , Reva Basch (Editor)

Jacket: Paperback
Pages: 472 pages
Publisher: Cyberage Books; (April 1, 2003)
Genre: Reference
ISBN: 0910965625

Comments about the author: Mary Ellen Bates is the principal of Bates Information Services, a research and consulting business based in Boulder, CO. I'm sometimes called an "information broker." Using a wide variety of online information sources and the Internet, as well as access to trade associations, government agencies, and other expert resources, I find business information, profiles on industries and companies, market intelligence and just about any other business research topic that's available online or through telephone research.
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Review: These days, newspapers and magazines are full of "work-from-home" business opportunities. Most of these advertisements claim to provide the gullible consumer with a way to make thousands of dollars each month in their pajamas. The truth is there are no easy ways to make a living as a small business owner. Owning your own small business means constant hard work in promotion, administration, client meetings and endless planning for the future. It also means doing due diligence in an effort to discover exactly what transitioning into a new line of business fully entails. For those interested in developing their own business dedicated to the discovery, packaging and sale of information, Mary Ellen Bates, with the assistance of Reva Basch (Editor), has put together a comprehensive how-to manual devoted to the burgeoning profession of the Independent Information Professional. Any effort at discovering what this field is about should include a study of this book.

Readers will note from the very first sentence that this is not a get-rich quick business scheme, nor is this a business for the faint of heart. Through the work's thirty-five chapters and four appendices (443 pages total), Mary Ellen Bates deftly guides her readers through the myriad intricacies of starting and growing an information brokerage. This book contains many of the things that one would expect from a book that directs the reader in the business of running a business: Finances, accounting, rates and fees are all addressed. What sets this work aside from others though is the depth of the information Bates gives her readers. For instance, most people starting a one or two person business might think about the most obvious things like desks, bank accounts and the like. However, what about errors and omissions insurance, confidentiality, networking and professional development? These are but a few of the critical issues that the small business owner would be remiss to overlook. All are covered in depth in Building & Running a Successful Research Business.

In the first three chapters, Bates provides her readers with a detailed job description, if you will, of the "Independent Info Pro", a glimpse into what might be a typical day in her business life and some insight into the joys and frustrations of the profession. This is exceptionally useful information that covers finding clients, real-life experiences and a section of frequently asked questions. This is exactly the type of information that potential info pros need to help them make decisions about the viability of joining this profession.

This book truly begins to soar when Bates launches into details about the research process and the resources available for use in the field. I have to admit an almost guilty pleasure in reading this section of the book. Like many who have taken advanced degrees in Library and Information Science, I learned long ago that it's all about the information and our ability to communicate that information to our clients and patrons. While many of us lean toward the joys of interacting with clients, there are others who enjoy interacting with the information resources maybe a bit more than interacting with humans. I count myself in that latter group. For this reason, I felt a palpable chill in my spine as I went through Bates' description of online resources, public records, special collections and the like. For the information junkie, this is simply outstanding material.

As a detailed reference tool and guide to the profession, Mary Ellen Bates has constructed an impressive work that will leave readers well informed about the career. Those contemplating a career change into the field of Independent Information Professionals, as well as those who are just starting out, will be well served by this outstanding work. I highly recommend Building & Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Information Professional.

— Reviewed by: Timothy E. McMahon, M.S.


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