Working With Local Students to Access Information
If you want to base your strategic and marketing decisions on high quality research but you don't want to spend a fortune on commissioning new studies, there's nothing like a university library to help. Unfortunately, most such institutions restrict access, but by working with students you can get the information you want at a very low cost.
What's more, students' specialist skills in tracking down obscure data - and their opportunities to keep up with cutting edge information - can help to put your business a step ahead of the competition.
Advanced Research SkillsIf you've ever gone into a big library and felt daunted by the amount of information on display, working with local students could be a good option for you. Seeking out data in places like this is really a specialist skill. If you don't feel able to learn it, or if you simply don't have the time to apply it, why not hire somebody who does that sort of thing every day?
For most higher level university students, and for some college students, dealing with library cataloguing systems is practically a way of life. As well as being able to find books, they're able to locate the specialist academic journals which are the repository of most really useful business statistics.
Depending on their field of study, you can pay them to help you or you can provide practical support in exchange, for instance by giving a business student access to some of the workings of your business so they can learn by example.
University students also have access to support and guidance from expert librarians who can help them find out what resources are available, so they may be able to advise you even in situations when you don't know where to start.
Staying Up To DateBecause they have access to current research and development projects, students can give you formal access to information as soon as it's published, and can keep you up to date on the sort of thing that's going on in a particular field.
If you work with technology, this means you can find out about new theories and designs years before they are developed and reach the marketplace, so you can hit the ground running.
For any business concerned about promotion, universities and colleges can provide great opportunities to keep in touch with shifting demographics and buying patterns, as this kind of analysis underlies much other student research.
Commissioning Research ProjectsUniversities and colleges are often happy to work together with businesses to undertake particular types of research in exchange for funding and practical support. This means you can get expert help with undertaking surveys and analysing the results. If you have no experience with this sort of analysis, you may be surprised by how much more useful information can be extracted from your data.
By supporting students in their research work, you can improve the general quantity and quality of available knowledge as well as making use of what's already there. This is particularly useful if you're working with new media or in some other area of business that has historically been under-researched.
Ultimately, universities are there not just to educate individuals but to improve the quality of knowledge available to everyone. Every successful business understands the value of information, and local students are an excellent resource when you want help to make the most of it.