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Picking the best places to launch a biz

ZoomProspector can help entrepreneurs hone in on untapped markets.

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Think there's no place like home? We asked ZoomProspector to find a city similar to Nashville. Its top pick: Denver.

(Fortune Small Business) -- Tired of throwing darts at a map? An online service aims to take the guesswork out of relocating.

At ZoomProspector.com, small business owners input their particular needs - from commute time to the supply of college-educated workers - and get matched to places with the right resources. In April the site is unveiling a new tool to help would-be franchisers find cities demographically similar to their own.

"Everybody thinks their community is unique," says ZoomProspector CEO Anatalio Ubalde. "The math says otherwise."

Laurus Construction, a general contractor in Costa Mesa, Calif., found another creative use for the free Web tool: targeting untapped markets.

"I'm able to figure out which communities to rule out and which to pursue," says executive vice president Sharon Chan. "It's almost like having a marketing company on tap. You're doing your own legwork, but it's nice to have the data."  To top of page

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