How to Get Good Data for your Big Island Business

I was having a chat the other day with a guy about the 2016 elections. It was clear he was a fervent supporter of one candidate, and he was sure this person was going to get his party’s nomination. I told him that he would have to get well over 100% of the remaining votes to get enough delegates to be nominated, a numerical impossibility. He replied, “Well those are just the numbers. I still think he has a chance.” At this point, I realized that his sincere belief in the candidate had short-circuited his logic skills. Just because he believed it was true, didn’t make it true!

As a business owner and person who has helped hundreds of businesses grow, I like to stick with the facts. Numbers, if they are properly obtained and calculated, don’t lie. Interpretations may be different but always start with the facts.

There are some excellent sources of data for business owners. Here are four of my favorite sources:
Hawaii County Data Book 2015

This is an excellent source of data about Hawaii Island, from schools and population to trends in visitors and economic activity. For example, July has the highest number of domestic visitors, and January is the peak for international travelers. At the very least, a business in the tourism sector would know what to expect regarding visitors, and, would also know the best times to take a vacation or schedule repairs.
If you are thinking about your child’s education, there is a plethora of data on where you might want to live. For example, 20% of Kealakehe students do not graduate from high school, but if you go south to Konawaena, that number drops to 11.6%, and the Kohala area has about a 5% high school dropout rate. Interpret how you like, but the data is there for you to find. There is also a lot of information about the enrollment, characteristics, and costs of private schools.

State of Hawaii Data Book 
The State of Hawaii Data Book covers all the topics that the Hawaii County Data Book does and has additional sections on Defense, Human Services, Interstate Commerce, and others. This is focused on statewide data.

Native Hawaiian Data Book
If you are interested in data on Native Hawaiians, the Native Hawaiian Data Books is an excellent source.

Hawaii Public Library Online Databases
One of my favorite sources of data is the State of Hawaii Library website. There are databases on grants, business, military, government, and much more. Best of all, you can access each of them from your home computer at no cost.

I’m a big believer in getting accurate information and then figuring out what it means. Intuition, anecdotal stories, and educated guesses all have a place, but when the numbers are there, I like to start with them.
Happy data hunting!

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