By Dean Whittaker

The purpose of information is to help us make better decisions. Making a good business-location decision is essential to success. To do so requires high quality, accurate, up-to-date information and an understanding of what it means.

In the past, many small firms making site-selection decisions did not have the resources to undertake this all-important, make-or-break decision in a methodical, thoughtful way. They were forced to make this decision with limited information. We have all felt the consequences of poor decisions based on incomplete, inaccurate or misleading information.

A new Web 2.0 tool,, attempts to address this need.   This geographic information system-based application (called GIS) enables the user to select demographic and building/site parameters, weight them by importance, and then search among US cities or counties to find the location that best fits the parameters.  The system is a fast and easy one-stop place to gather data to narrow the site-search process to a handful of suitable locations.

The application includes a searchable database of site location consultants and economic development organizations to help the user engage qualified experts to take the next step in the site-selection process.   For new locations, relocation, expansion or consolidation, this Web 2.0 application provides the information necessary to make a smart, well-informed decision.   Through a ZoomProspector partnership with Whittaker Associates, Inc. (a firm specializing in predicting corporate behavior), companies predicted to seek a new location will be offered the use of the Web tool at no charge.

ZoomProspector is all about connections. It connects communities interested in improving their local economies with companies seeking a location.  ZoomProspector also connects owners of available property (or their agents) with businesses considering relocation.  A prompt transaction and maximized property value is achieved by closely matching a self-selected audience of potential users to the property.

ZoomProspector connects companies to the expertise of site-location consultants and economic development organizations.  In the past, finding talented professionals to assist in a complex site-location decision has been hit or miss. With this new tool, finding the person with the industry and community knowledge has just gotten easier.

The significant increase in energy cost is forcing many companies (particularly those with high-energy inputs, such as food processing) to re-consider their current location in order to optimize their proximity to raw materials, talent, and customers.  Competing in logistics has emerged as an effect business strategy. To maintain their globally competitive advantage, companies must continuously re-evaluate their location as conditions change.  ZoomProspector gives them the tools to do so.