Zoom can help find new locations

In thzoomprospectore past, businesses looking to relocate relied mostly on connections, market trends and popular opinions.

A new service is looking to change that with cold, hard facts.

Zoom Prospector lets businesses search the nation for the perfect place to set up shop.

The website, which was recently made available to the public by developer GIS Planning, collects information about cities and counties around the U.S.. The information includes essentials such as labor force size and education levels, as well as some more offbeat (but equally cool) stuff.

For example, the site says that 30% of the work force in Richmond is blue collar. Six percent of the work force is young and educated, which Zoom Prospector calls “the most mobile, flexible and talented workers.” And approximately 44,053 workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The site also provides information on transportation in the city or community, as well as stats on everything from the number of patents to the amount of venture capital.

Even better, you can search for the perfect community for your business based on all of these stats.

And it’s really easy. The website takes you through a series of questions about your business and the type of community that you’re looking for.

You can even assign levels of importance to each question. So if hiring white collar employees is more important to you than the size of the city, Zoom Processor will recognize this and adjust accordingly.

The site then ranks the best communities for your business based on your answers.

You can also do more specific searches by entering your own values for population size, median age, unemployment rate, etc…

It’s a really cool idea, and it’s immensely fun to play with.

I filled out a form using Richmond BizSense as my template. The number one match was Carlsbad, CA, with a match rank of 92. Brandon, FL, Charlotte, NC, Beaverton, OR and Cary, NC rounded out the top five. Virginia Beach made a respectable appearance at 16th, coming in with a match rank of 86.

Richmond didn’t make the list. (Have we made a grave, grave mistake?)

Beaverton BizSense is kinda catchy.

The service isn’t without its problems. Some of the data is from 2006 or earlier. Other stats seem arbitrary; do I really need to know the latitude and longitude of these cities?

With that said, Zoom Processor delivers. All of the info is based on surveys and studies, so you can probably trust the data. The number of cities and communities profiled is also impressive; the site literally looks all over the map for the perfect city for your business.

If you’re a business looking to relocate, or locate for the first time (does that make sense?), you need to take a look at Zoom Processor.

And even if you’re not, you should still take a look. It’s fun, interesting, and best of all, completely free.

BizSense Grade: A

Alec Depcrynski covers technology and commercial real estate for BizSense. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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