3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: May 30

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The data is used to calculate the impact of government policies on business such as the Start-up Act 2.0 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, as well to identify "economic empowerment zones," which business owners can use to decide where there is the most incentive to be located, Shane writes.

It is also used by entrepreneurs to make sound business decisions, such as franchising opportunities, by sharing local demographic information that would support or negate the introduction of a service or product. Local officials can use the data to decide which policies best promote economic growth, the article says.

"While private sources provide alternative data for making these decisions, such products are generally less accurate (because of the high cost of designing proper sampling procedures to obtain accurate information) and more expensive," Shane writes.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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