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Building & Running a Successful Research Business
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Building & Running a Successful Research Business, 2nd Edition
A Guide for the Independent Information Professional
By Mary Ellen Bates | Foreword by Amelia Kassel

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Amelia Kassel

Section One: Getting Started

    Chapter 1—What’s an Independent Info Pro?

What’s This Business All About?
So What Do You Do, Anyway?
Focus, Focus, Focus
Where Will I Find My Clients?
Real-Life Examples
Frequently Asked Questions

    Chapter 2—A Day in the Life of an Independent Info Pro

My Typical Day
Your Typical Day
Issues We All Face

    Chapter 3—The Joys and Frustrations of Being an Independent Info Pro

The Thrills of Being an Independent Info Pro
The Chills of Being an Independent Info Pro

    Chapter 4—Are You a Potential Independent Info Pro?

The People Skills
The Entrepreneurial Skills
The Business Skills
The Information Skills
Where Can You Get Help?
The Imposter Syndrome

    Chapter 5—Who You Are and What You Do

Who Needs You?
Offering What the Client Needs
Think Globally, Not Locally

    Chapter 6—Understanding Your Competition

Who Am I Up Against?
Working With Your Competition
Looking for Competition
Making Yourself Competition-Proof

    Chapter 7—Structuring Your Business

Incorporating or Keeping It Simple
Should You Partner With Your Partner or Your Pal?
What Kind of Entity Are You?
Hired Help or Ad Hoc Subcontracting 

    Chapter 8—Before You Launch

Business Plans and Other Pipe Dreams
Who Are Your Clients?
What About My Steady Paycheck?
Just Do It! 

    Chapter 9—Setting Up Your Business

What’s Your Name?
Are You My Employer?
Where Am I?
Office Equipment Checklist
Your Phone Number
Your URL
Paying Your Dues 

    Chapter 10—

What’s the Purpose of a Website?
Choosing a Domain Name
Creating Your Website
What About the Content?
Other Web “Homes” 

    Chapter 11—Business Apps for Info-Entrepreneurs

The Basics
The Nice-to-Haves
Other Cool Tools

    Chapter 12—Work and the Rest of Your Life

Living Abundantly
Time Management, or “I Think I’ll Take a Little Break Now”
“The Info Pro Is In” or Not
Creating a Good Office Environment
Going on Vacation
Business Coaches: Help, I Need Somebody

Section Two: Running the Business

    Chapter 13—Managing Your Clients

Monogamy Versus Playing the Field
Is Any Client Too Small?
Let’s Not Do Lunch
Handling RFPs
The Art of Proposal Writing
Get It in Writing?
When to Say “No”
Do You Like Me? Really?
The Project From Hell
How to Fire a Client 

    Chapter 14—Money, Money, Money

Financing Your Business
Accounting 101
Billing and Collections
Cash Flow
Paying Yourself
Paying the Tax Man  

    Chapter 15—Setting Rates and Fees

Hourly Rates or Flat Fee?
Estimating a Project
Can You Get the Money Up Front?
Recalibrating Rates 

    Chapter 16—Subcontracting, or I’ll Scratch Your Back If You Scratch Mine

How Does Subcontracting Work, and Why Should I Share?
The Challenges of Subcontracting
Following the Golden Rule

    Chapter 17—Ethics and Legalities

Ethical Quandaries
Handling Conflicts
Client Confidentiality
Reading the Fine Print
Contracts and Agreements
Keeping Your Word
Copyright Perils
Recycling Results
Legal Collections 

    Chapter 18—Professional Development

AIIP: Your Secret Weapon
Associations Galore
Staying Sharp
The Invisible Network 

    Chapter 19—Strategic Planning

Getting a Yearly Check-Up
What More Can I Do for My Clients?
Learning From Your First Year
Taking Time to Think
Building a Brain Trust
Expanding Your (and Your Clients’) Vision
Finding a Sounding Board

    Chapter 20—Your Next Five Years

Warning: Sharp Curves Ahead
Questions to Ponder
Moving to the Next Level
Rootbound Versus Bonsai

Section Three: Marketing

    Chapter 21—Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

You’re Always “On”
“Can You Do This for Me?”
Ten Mistakes New Independent Info Pros Make

    Chapter 22—Your Marketing Plan

What Are Your Goals
What Info Pro Marketing Entails
Writing Your Marketing Plan
22 Ways to Kick-Start Your Marketing

    Chapter 23—Your Business Image

You in Print
Your Web Image
Answering Your Phone 

    Chapter 24—Marketing on the Web

Where Can You Live Online?
Marketing With Your Website
Blogging Your Business
Participating in Electronic Discussions
Other Options to Consider

    Chapter 25—Print and Eprint Marketing

Starting Your Mailing List
Direct Mail: Directly to the Wastebasket?
Targeted Mailings
Client Newsletters and Postcards
Print Advertising

    Chapter 26—Marketing by Writing and Speaking

Author, Author!
Speaking Your Piece 

    Chapter 27—Starting the Word of Mouth

“What Does Your Company Do?”
“How Did You Hear About Me?”
Working the Associations
Moving Beyond the Chamber of Commerce
Leads and Networking Clubs
Asking for Referrals

    Chapter 28—Public Relatins

Doing Something Newsworthy
Writing a Press Release
Getting Noticed
Becoming a Certified Expert
Building a Press Kit
Giving Good Sound Bites

Section Four: Researching

    Chapter 29—The Reference Interview

Steps in a Reference Interview
Sources of Ambiguity

    Chapter 30—Thinking Like a Researcher

Ready, Fire, Aim
Seeing Horizons and Setting Limits
Mapping Out a Large Project
Tutorials on Research Techniques

    Chapter 31—Online Research Basics

It’s All on the Web for Free, Right?
What’s Missing?
Free Versus Fee
Boolean Basics
Adjacency, Truncation, and Other Power Tools

    Chapter 32—Web Research 101

How Search Engines Work
Getting the Most From Search Engines
Web Directories and Guides
The Invisible Web
Searching the Social Web
Discussion Forums and Lists 

    Chapter 33—Specialized Web Databases

Pay-As-You-Go Options
Public Libraries
Open Access Publications
Government Databases 

    Chapter 34—Professional Online Services

“This Costs How Much?!?”
Cheaper by the Dozen?
The Big Three (Plus a Few)
Power Tools
Controlling Searches with Controlled Vocabulary
Tracking Your Costs
When in Doubt, Subcontract Out 

    Chapter 35—Telephone Research

What’s Involved in Phone Research?
Characteristics of a Good Phone Researcher
The Challenges of Telephone Research
Successful Telephone Interviews
Telephone Research Ethics

    Chapter 36—Public Records Research

What Does a Public Records Researcher Do?
Is a Public Records Researcher a PI?
Learning How to Research Public Records
Challenges of Public Records Research
Ethical and Legal Issues
Getting Started as a Public Records Researcher
Public Records Databases

    Chapter 37—Deliverables

No Added Value = No Perceived Value
Less Is More
Are You Professional or Strategic?
Branding and “Sealing” Your Results
Archiving Search Results

    Chapter 38—Other Services You Can Offer

Training, Workshops, and Seminars
Podcasts,Webinars, and Other Web-Based Products
Outsourced Library Services
Consulting Services 


    Appendix A. The Association of Independent Information Professionals

    Appendix B. Websites Mentioned in This Book

    Appendix C. People Quoted in This Book

About the Author



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