UCB Libraries

CUBIC 2012

  • Business
  • Market
  • Industry Research
  • Company Research


Search Strategy | Using the Library Databases | Venture Planning | Business Terms


Search Strategy


Think before you search! No matter which search tool you use (databases, Google, interviews), it always helps to have a search strategy. A little planning at the beginning of your research process will save time. Frame your search strategy in terms of the data pieces you will need to create your business plan.


  • What types of information will you need in order to support your idea?
  • What might that information look like? Balance sheets? Supplier contacts? Competitor analysis? Demographic trends?
  • Who might keep track of that data? The Census Bureau? Trade groups or professional associations? Marketers? Distributors? Regulatory agencies?
  • Is the data likely to be freely available or hidden behind a paywall?
  • Is there more than one keyword that could describe the concept?


Some topics to consider are:


  • What problem are you attempting to solve?
  • Who are your customers? How do you plan to reach them?
  • What is the market for your product or service? It is growing, stable, or shrinking?
  • Who are your competitors? What sets you apart?
  • What will you need to make this business happen? Suppliers? Employees? Funding?

Brainstorm as many ideas as you can about these points. Think about where you would search to find answers to these questions. You may want to look at sites that feature customer reviews, such as Yelp! or Amazon.


It can be helpful to examine a business plan for a similar venture. A similar company's business plan gives you a starting place for considering what kinds of evidence you will need to present in your own plan. One place to find business plans is the Business Plans Handbook, a subscription source provided by the Library. For information on how to access the Library Resources, see the section below.



Using the Library Resources


If you do your homework away from campus, you'll need to connect through the VPN. Problems with the VPN software should be referred to OIT, the Office of Information Technology.


In addition to books and periodicals in print, CU provides access to a huge number of subscription websites, article databases, and ebooks. Finding these resources can be tricky. If you need a refresher on how to find books, journals, articles, or data owned by the Library, see the "How do I...?" pages.


Of course you will search the internet or newspapers for general information, but limiting your search to freely-available sources alone may significantly impact your understanding of the big picture.



Venture Plan Preparation Resources


Business Plans Handbook

  • Collection of actual business plans (company names are changed) in a wide range of industries
  • Includes a business plan template, two fictional business plans, a listing of organizations, agencies, and consultants, glossary and bibliography


The Entrepreneur's Guide to Writing Business Plans and Proposals (e-book)

  • Step-by-step guide to developing a business plan, marketing plan, and financial forecast


The New Business Road Test: What entrepreneurs and executives should do before writing a business plan





Business Terms


In addition to Wikipedia and Investopedia, you may need to consult a business dictionary or encyclopedia when you encounter unfamiliar terms. Here are several available to you through the Library.






Consumer Research


The Mintel Oxygen database provides information on consumer trends, demographic profiles, brand share, and market drivers. There are over 800 individual reports now available in 13 categories, with data covering US and select international markets. Users can conduct keyword searching by company, topic, industry, product and more.
NOTE: Use is restricted to current UCB students and faculty with a valid Colorado.edu email address. After agreeing to the academic terms of use, click the link for "create a personal profile" and use your Colorado.edu email address for the account.



Consumer Behavior, published annually by Richard K. Miller & Associates, is a comprehensive market research report covering the US population. Eighty-eight chapters cover everything from demographic trends at the national level to buying behavior among different age groups.


American Incomes: Demographics of who has money.


American Buyers: Demographics of shopping.


Colorado Demographics Resource Guide




Market Research


Market Research Databases


  • Frost & Sullivan Database of market research reports and forecasts. Strong in medical and information & communication technology (ICT) research. NOTE: Frost & Sullivan may require user sign-in. If the 'Sign In' menu option in the top right corner is activated, you will be prompted to enter your first and last name, as well as a valid University of Colorado email address.


  • Mintel Oxygen contains information on consumer trends, demographic profiles, brand share, and market drivers. Search by product, lifestyle attribute, or company. Remember: Use is restricted to current UCB students and faculty with valid a Colorado.edu email address. After agreeing to the academic terms of use, click the link for "create a personal profile" and use your Colorado.edu email address for the account.



Additional Sources of Market Data


  • Business Insights: Global is a new database from Gale. Search by company or product for market share, brand share, trends, and more.


  • Business Source Complete offers thousands of market reports. Search by product, company, or region, then use the links on the left side of the search results to limit to market research.






The links below will take you to the catalog records for the items. Notice that there are clickable links within each catalog record. When you click on a subject term, the catalog will run a search for materials on the same subject.





Industry Classification Codes | Industry Surveys | Trade Associations


Industry Classification Codes


It is helpful to be aware of the standards used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The main standard is the NAICS system, but some agencies and databases continue to use the SIC system for retrieving data. Learn more and search the codes using the links below.


NAICS: North American Industry Classification System


SIC: Standard Industrial Classification



If you have trouble finding the right code, you can always look for a similar company in a database such as Reference USA or Hoover's and find the codes there.



Industry Surveys


Industry surveys can be used for information about the current business environment, regulations, developments, and issues that impact companies.




Industry ratios



Trade Publications


Trade Publications



Locating Company Information | Financials | Competitive Analysis | Local Business


Locating Company Information



The availability of information about a company depends on whether the company is public or private. Public companies release a great deal of information through annual reports and SEC filings. Privately held companies are not required to disclose information about their business, thus limiting the amount of information that can be found.



News and trade articles are a great place to start your company research.


  • Factiva features full-text articles from major world business and financial news sources, company reports, and financial market information. The search interface can be tricky, but the scope of coverage is unmatched.

  • Lexis Nexis Academic also provides full-text articles, news transcripts, country economic and political risk reports, and legal cases.

  • Business & Industry has full-text articles from trade and business publications. Good for industry trends, marketing, strategy, operations, and management best practices.


Annual reports to shareholders and the SEC give a detailed account of the company's lines of business, financial situation, and business activities. This guide links to sources for downloading annual reports.






Public Companies


  • Business Insights: Global

    Research and analyze companies, industries, and economies around the world. Featuring the tools you need to interpret a global business landscape: robust data sets, visualization tools to help you develop data-driven insights, case studies to broaden your perspective on real-life situations.


  • Lexis Nexis

    Access company data from sources such as Dun & Bradstreet, Morningstar, Hoover's, and Standard & Poor's in one location called the "Company Dossier." Use this search to quickly find the dossier.


  • Hoover's

    Provides company profiles, a corporate directory (searchable by company name, industry, ticker symbol, sales, location), market quotes, and business news. Additional information includes lists of officers, short biographies, and corporate financial data.


  • Mergent Online

    Search by company name, ticker, SIC or NAICS code. Use the Mergent Toolbox to easily create spreadsheets and reports comparing up to 500 companies simultaneously.


  • Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage

    Search by company name or ticker, then use the links on the left for valuation, financials, competitors, and stock reports


Private Companies


  • PrivCo

    Private company financials and revenues, private M&A deals and deal multiples, private firm valuations, venture capital fundings, private equity deals, private and family ownership breakdowns, bankruptcies, restructurings, and more. Note: available only in the Business Library.


  • Lexis Nexis Academic

    Lexis Nexis is incredibly valuable for private company data as well. Use this link to find in-depth information about private companies, venture capital firms, and others.





Competitive Analysis


Business Insights: Global contains rankings from the publications Business Rankings Annual and Market Share Reporter.


Hoover's: search by company name for competitor lists and business rankings by revenue.


SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are generally internal to the company, while opportunities and threats are external factors. You can find SWOT analyses for most major companies by searching Business Source Complete for "(company name) AND SWOT".






Local Business


Reference USA

Search for businesses by name, keyword, location, SIC or NAICS code. Financial information, employees, and operating expenses are listed as available, even for small businesses.



Two annual publications offer business rankings at the local level. Topics include fastest-growing public and private companies, women- and minority-owned businesses, best places to work, and profiles of local entrepreneurs and philanthropists.