Introduction

Business Research

The Research & Business Development Center (RBDC) is focused on helping our clients through value added research. Clients help university students gain experience and build their resume. Having worked with over 300 clients on over 900 projects, the RBDC offers a wide variety of projects to meet clients’ individual needs by facilitating strategic decision-making. Research projects are completed by student teams overseen by RBDC staff with years of business experience and other mentors including university professors.

Our cross-disciplinary teams are staffed with university students studying a range of topics like statistics and math, business, marketing, supply chain, economics, accounting, industrial and organizational psychology, and communications. Together the students provide clients documented research and analysis to help meet their individual needs.

Projects are done on a tri-annual basis. The 13-week projects start in January, April, and September. Clients are charged a reasonable administrative fee for the service. The RBDC is limited in the number of projects that it can accept, so reach out now to ensure your project can be completed. Please contact us to learn more or to discuss a potential project.

Will Jensen

Director of Business

Office: 208.356.5009 x109 | Email: w.jenson@RBDCenter.org

Will is from Utah and moved to Idaho in 2007. As an economist, he specializes in community and regional development. Previously, he worked for the Idaho Department of Labor. Will teaches economics as an adjunct professor at Idaho State University and Brigham Young University-Idaho. He earned a BS and MS in economics from Utah State University.

Advanced Projects

For ALPS | Advance we take over with the guidance and mentoring to free up your time commitment. While you will still meet with the team regularly, it will be less frequent and more to check in rather than direct the efforts. We also assist by selecting the students through an application and interview process. Team lead positions are filled with students who have previous ALPS | Basic experience or applicable work experience.

Marketing

Social Media Marketing and Marketing Research

Sought out alternative sources of funding for cosmetology students aside from Federal Aid. Mapped where students had moved from to attend the school and launched targeted Facebook marketing efforts in areas of dense relocation in order to increase attendance. Surveyed past and present students to help identify ineffective marketing efforts and in conjunction with other research, inspired marketing budget reallocation. Researched marketing events in Rexburg to identify best practices.

Consumer Analysis

Bi-semester Consumer Analysis

Project Scope (semester 1): Conducted multiple focus groups across Eastern Idaho with millennials to better understand how to attract them to and retain them in the region, as well as how to develop their talent. The focus groups were recorded and all responses were transcribed and analyzed.

Project Scope (semester 2): A survey was designed based on the focus group results to be distributed to a large audience of Eastern Idaho millennials. For the first sample, the research team worked with universities and colleges in the region to have the survey distributed to their students. For the second sample, a Facebook campaign was launched in order to reach Eastern Idaho millennials through targeted boosting. The results were analyzed to identify key findings.

Feasibility Study

Feasibility Study, Competitive, and Consumer Analysis

Identified all auto shops which provided oil changes in Idaho Falls and Rexburg. Compiled a comprehensive list of their services, pricing, and capacity. Gathered data necessary to perform location quotient calculations per capita and also by number of registered vehicles in several counties in order to gauge market saturation. Interviewed main oil supplier of the region to further gauge saturation and market shares. Conducted a consumer survey to identify preferences.

Economic Study

Demographic Research and Economic Studies

Built a case for Sugar City, Idaho to present to the county in order to increase its impact area. Identified comparison cities based on growth rates and similarity to Sugar City in established variables. From those comparison cities, both good and bad case studies were drawn. Additionally, land use ratios and budgets were retrieved from those cities for analysis as well as the types of businesses functioning within them.

Various Research Initiatives

Real Estate and Historical Building Research

Completed application for a building to be classified as a historical landmark on behalf of a business. Wrote detailed justifications for why certain aspects of the building had to be altered from the original state. Researched how historical landmarks benefit communities.

Market Analysis

Technology Market Study

Identified key market information for a national lab about long term seasonal energy storage in the United States today. Key information gathered included the type of long term storage technology, how much energy the project produces, the owner of the project, who provided the funding, location, and available contact information. This information was gathered for each project in the United States and compiled in an excel spreadsheet. An interactive website provided a user friendly way to analyze and visualize the data.

Feasibility Study and Market Analysis

A regional economic study was conducted in efforts to entice a modular home building company on the East coast to come and create a factory in a local county to increase economic development. This company could sell their homes in a 500 mile radius around the factory, so the research team spoke with developers in the six surrounding states to understand the general market in those areas and what developers had heard about modular homes. They also looked at housing prices, land prices, building lease trends, unemployment rates for those same states to evaluate the housing market in those states.

Qualified Sales Leads

Sales Leads Surveys

A contact list of law firms was created based on criteria provided by the client. A survey was created with the goal to indicate whether or not a law firm would be a good sales opportunity for the company. Calls and emails were made to a large amount of law firms and their responses to the survey were collected. The team sorted the responses into three different tiers of potential for the client.

Best Practice

Home Care Pulse

The company wanted to improve its retention rate of office staff and cut travel costs. The team identified best practices of several local and national companies regarding travel and employee retention. In addition, the client wanted to know the feasibility of moving office staff to another location. To accomplish that, cost of living and wages of specific counties were compared to the company’s current location in order to understand the potential relocation cost.

Software Research

Software Research

The client wanted CRM software to keep track of his leads and organize his contacts. He had specific specifications and qualities that he was looking for in a CRM, and the team signed up for many trial versions of different CRM softwares to document their experiences. They collected information about different features, what other applications the CRM could integrate with, and how well they met the client’s specifications. They narrowed down the choices to the three best options. The team also organized data from pdfs and excel files to be ready to upload to the client’s new CRM.

Basic Projects

ALPS | Basic provides you with a team of five students each working for about nine hours per week for an equivalent of one full-time intern. Similar to an on-site internship, ALPS | Basic requires you to guide and mentor your team.

Competitive Analysis

Market and Competitive Analysis

Identified legitimate agricultural fertilizer chemical companies with 1-20 locations. Compiled a portfolio of peer-reviewed journals on soil microbiology. Generated a list of Ag Pest Control Advisors in California. Compiled a list of relevant Associations/Commissions for various crops.

New Products Launch Strategy

Strategic Planning

Compiled a comprehensive list of relevant education institutions. Designed and administered a survey to contacts to aid in the development of a strategic plan for the new product launch within the education technology industry.

Marketing

Marketing Strategy

Contacted cosmetology schools prioritized by their location according to client accessibility, to schedule marketing appearances by the client. Aided in logo and website design.

Marketing Strategy/Supply Chain

Determined best practices for serving customers with a quick service restaurant (QSR) approach at an ethnic food restaurant. Identified areas in the West Coast most desirable for establishing that kind of restaurant. Created and distributed surveys to different potential markets of ethnic food QSR over social media to understand consumer interest.

SEO and Social Media Marketing Optimization

The client had multiple companies working on its social media platforms and SEO optimization. The team compared the companies to identify redundancy. They also researched other resources that could be used to increase the client’s presence on the web.

Consumer Analysis

Consumer Analysis and Beta Testing

Client wanted to beta test their app with college students. The team used the app to communicate and share the app with other students who provide feedback on possible uses in a college setting. Any bugs found in the system were reported, along with positive/negative feedback received from students.

Market Analysis

Market Research/Real Estate Development

The team researched a specific trailer park for sale as a prospective investment. The team researched the trailer park market to understand maintenance costs, difficulties, and general demand for mobile homes in various counties in Idaho.

Best Practices Study

Best Practices Study and Community Assessment

Researched the best practices for assessing health in a community. Identified US national standards for community and child health. Created and administered a survey to assess health in terms of mental health, exercise, nutrition, and food security in K-12th graders in county where municipality is located.

Custom Projects

Projects are not limited to Advanced and Basic. Projects can be customized to address specific business needs. The RBDC has done projects that involved several project groups at a time over several semesters. Start-up businesses with limited time and resources also have the opportunity to find a smaller project to fit their needs.

Past Clients

Questions? Send us a message.

Learn about project specifics and how to sign up!