Information about your market, your competitors, and your customers is a valuable asset that can become a true differentiator. But what happens when you are operating in a specialized niche and published data is hard to find? Big companies often shell out thousands of dollars to have an exhaustive primary research report conducted. Unfortunately, that is not an option for every company.

There is however, a viable alternative which can provide you with the information that you seek to help grow your business. Find the expert. According to Chris Gibbons, the founder of the National Center for Economic Gardening, when you find the expert in a particular market, you find the information hub.

There are many places in which experts congregate. This includes industry associations or trade publications. Check out online forums and search for LinkedIn Groups. Universities are excellent places to look for experts. For example, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) hosts a Global Technology Portal which is a free resource that enables universities and corporations to connect. Through the capabilities page, users can search for experts in a particular area.

BestBizWeb also advises searching for “expert directories” via google. Universities publish these directories to inform entities looking for expertise on particular topic. By entering in the search phrase “[keyword] experts database OR find OR directory universities” you will locate numerous directories with the names of subject authorities who are willing to share their knowledge.

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