How to Become an Information Broker

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A close-up of two people analyzing data on a computer screen.
A close-up of two people analyzing data on a computer screen. (Image: Doug Menuez/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Having the right information at the right time can give businesses leverage and help them outperform competitors in the marketplace. That’s why information brokerage businesses are so important and valuable; they provide relevant, cost-effective information that can enhance decision-making. To start an information brokerage, you need database subscriptions, core competencies, qualified personnel and the right clientele.

Subscribe to Databases

Information brokers need access to subscription databases that contain expert resources, such as Lexis/Nexis for legal information, to provide value-added services to their clients. According to the Inc. website, access to professional databases can cost thousands of dollars, which is something that many small businesses cannot afford. Access to subscription-database information is part of the value proposition that information brokers offer their clients, along with their expertise on which databases to access and how to synthesize the data into meaningful information with which to make decisions.

Develop Core Competencies

Information brokers provide services that range from creating research reports to developing and maintaining internal databases on behalf of their clients. They can also research copyrights and patents, and perform market research. The core competencies information brokers develop must focus on the needs of their clientele, which can differ between industries and public or private companies. A detailed marketing plan can help information brokers define their services and determine whether they have something viable to offer their target market.

Hire Personnel

No single background best prepares an employee to be an information specialist. However, employees with an analytical background -- including previous experience as a marketing analyst or financial analyst -- tend to have the requisite skills to perform research. The type of personnel you hire will depend on your core competencies and your clients. For instance, if you provide legal research to law firms, you need people who have an understanding of legal databases and casework, so they can perform their jobs efficiently.

Find Clientele

Small businesses that cannot afford to employ researchers, analysts or other administrators who can collect data make ideal clients. Medium- to large-size companies that cannot afford to allocate the time, resources or personnel to researching information, or ones that do not have the expertise required to do the research, also make good clients. To build your client list, schedule meetings with business owners or decision makers in your niche to sell your services and sign service agreements.

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