Define the Product or Service
Clearly formulate your idea for the business.
Describe as accurately as possible what you plan to sell. If you believe the item new or revolutionary, search for other patents. The U.S. Patent Office allows a search. The Baugh Center at Baylor University evaluates innovations for a fee.
Examine the market.
How may potential buyers exist? What do you provide they do not yet have? Why will they want it?
The US Census offers detailed population parameters, age, sex, levels of education. etc. The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes incomes, and the Texas State Data Center also keeps statistics about the local economy.
Know your competition
Who else is providing the same, or similar, product? What are the barriers to entry? Even if you go into the market first and enjoy success, what prevents a rival from starting another such business? Open the Yellow Pages. Search the web. Read trade magazines. Consult industry groups. Seek information from local business associations or chambers of commerce which list companies and their type of activity.
The Comptroller records state sales tax information quarterly by county. By special request, you can also obtain quarterly data at the city (even zip code) county, and state level, sorted by North American Industry Classifiication System (NAICS) codes.