I've taken the first step in starting a business that small companies (or even people trying to START small companies) can go to for outsourcing their research, fact finding, and proof reading. This would include preliminary market research - exploring a market the company would like to become involved in and an evaluation of the potential success of the company in that area; fact finding - background research for papers, press releases, presentations, etc that involve more time than a company can expend; proofreading - looking over important documents (e.g. studies, journal papers, press releases, etc) for spelling, grammatical, citation, and factual errors; and other research based services that a company can request. I would work from home, unless a company desperately wanted me to come meet with them in person and was willing to pay travel fees if they're farther than a car drive, and conduct business calls/meetings via Skype so that I could at least have a semi-personal relationship with the business owners.
There is a person in here struggling with the amount of research needed to start a handbag company (http://www.startupnation.com/IndustryMarket-Research-for-Business-Plan/topic/ ) - this is one kind of service I think I would offer, but is it the kind of service someone would be willing to use? Is this a service companies would be interested in? What would you be willing to pay for this service ?? From asking the professionals around me, I've gotten answers ranging from a meager hourly rate to quotes of tens of thousands of dollars, which I think has to do with them not quite understanding the concept of research outsourcing. What additional services should be offered to create a comprehensive research outsourcing resource?
I appreciate all your answers and help.
I'm an eighteen year old student who has worked at a small semiconductor business in the greater Boston area for two years doing primarily SEO and AdWords work, but initially some market research, and a million other things (proof reading, press release writing, contacting company reps, database entry..... you get the idea). What I've found most interesting throughout my time here, though, is the research I've done for the company, including reading medical papers and finding relevant applications for their products, which it seems is only done when I'm around because of how small the company is and how limited their "free time" is for doing extraneous projects like medical research, etc.
There are other people out "there" who offer to do these things, but I think because I would establish myself as a legitimate state-registered business, I would have an advantage. My age might be a disadvantage in terms of prejudice against youngsters, but my age is also an advantage in that I am about 15x more competent than most adults at using computers and navigating the internet to find what I want. Also advantageous is that because I am a student, I have access to my school's databases (e.g. for medical papers, back dated newspapers and magazines, encyclopedias, and a million other things) and have a list of databases that I will subscribe to. I have experience with web design and SEO, so I don't think I would run in to issues with not getting enough business/exposure.