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Mesa AZ cares.  Mesa wants you to succeed.  Especially the small business owner.  How American is that?!  Small businesses are the backbone of our country and Mesa wants you to succeed!

Two new online tools offered by the city of Mesa are designed to help existing businesses grow and to help lure new businesses to the city.

The city teamed up with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce on MesaSizeUp.com, billed as a free online market intelligence tool to help businesses compete and grow.

The second site, MesaSiteSearch.com, is another free online tool to help businesses find commercial properties for sale or lease within the city limits.

The size up program provides prospective and business owners data that can lead to smarter decisions, according to city Marketing and Business Development Manager Kim Lofgreen. Market research, comparative business data on revenues, salaries, competitors and customer demographics are some of the key kinds of information available on the site, he said.

The website aggregates millions of data points from public and private sources to provide four main tools, he said.

Those are performance benchmarking, competitive assessment, advertising analysis and demographic analysis.

“This program gives growing businesses the ability to make decisions based on good data and information,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said.

It’s been operational for about a month, Lofgreen said. Staffers at the city and chamber haven’t had much feedback yet, but welcome it, he and chamber President and CEO Sally Harrison said.

Harrison said the size up program is especially key for small businesses.

Large corporations may have the staff to compile this kind of data on their own, or can afford to hire a company to do it for them, she said. But, the majority of the 15,000 or 20,000 businesses in Mesa are small firms and don’t have funds for such evaluations, she said.

Mesa doesn’t require business licenses, Harrison said, so there’s no exact count for how many businesses operate within the city.

“Anybody who cares about their company should check this out,” she said.

It’s one more tool in the toolbox for business owners, she said. And, she believes it steps Mesa up a level in the business world.

Mesa “is a big city and we need to act like it,” she said, “and these are the kind of things that let us step up our game.”

The fact that it’s free is a bonus, Harrison said.

Overall, Lofgreen said, an improved economy in Mesa means an improved quality of life for all Mesa residents. When businesses expand or open, jobs are created and money is spent around the community.

“A city’s role is to create an atmosphere where companies can succeed and create a better environment for people,” Lofgreen said.

He thinks the size up program can help all of the city’s businesses understand their markets, their customers and their demographics.

“It allows the small business owner to better understand competition and customers,” Lofgreen said. “You can size yourself up and it shows you how you compare to other businesses.”

The site search site contains data on about 300 properties. People can search by cost, property size or property type.

Search results include detailed property information, a map, broker contact information and area demographics including age distribution, house types, income levels and retail sales volumes.

The city pays a fee to GIS Planning, an online economic development solutions firm, to manage the size up site. And, the city pays LoopNet, a division of CoStar Group, for the site search site. Lofgreen said most real estate firms use LoopNet and keep their listings on that site current. However, he pointed out, not every real estate firm uses it and the site won’t list every single Mesa property for sale.

Users pay nothing for the data they obtain from the sites.