ESBM 3200: Principles of Business for EntrepreneursThis is the guide for ESBM 3200, Principles of Business for Entrepreneurs. This guide contains resources to help you get started on your research.
- Company and
Useful Library Resources
- Business Library Home Page
The Business Library web site links to all of the resources (and much more) mentioned in this guide, in addition you can browse for specific resources using the drop down menu at the top to find resources on a particular topic.
- How do I...?
These guides provide quick tips on how to find books, cite resources, and much more.
- Off-Campus Access
The majority of resources mentioned on this guide are subscribed to and you need to download the VPN to access them from off campus. This page walks you through the steps of setting up your laptop or mobile device to access these resources off campus.
- Chinook, the library catalog
While the majority of your research will be conducted in databases, you may want to check out the library catalog to see if there are any books, government reports or anything else that might be able to assist you in your papers.
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.
The Search Strategy Process Worksheet
As we work throughout the various resources, you will also want to think about some other questions, such as:
- 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 in a database or even released at all?
- 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?
Industry surveys can be used for information about the current business environment, regulations, developments, and issues that impact companies operating within that industry. For your assignment, a good industry survey will help you become familiar with the key players and brands, the vocabulary, and the overall size of the market.
You'll notice that each of the databases uses different terms to identify the categories. In other words, the vocabulary is not standardized across the databases. A tool to remedy this problem is called NAICS: the North American Industry Classification System.
NAICS and its precursor SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) are a means for organizing disparate business into a category about which statistics and data can be collected. You can find out more about both at: www.census.gov/eos/www/naics.
As you go through your project, think broadly and creatively about where your target fits. Some industries are too new or too odd to fit into an established category. It doesn't hurt to look at more than one industry survey. Likewise, it is often helpful to think of a similar/competing company or brand and see where that company or brand fits into the classification system.
Resources to explore
Hoover's CU is a good place to start for both company and industry information. The industry reports, First Research Industry Profiles CU are also available simply as PDFs.
You can search across all the tabs or search just for a particular company or industry.
A few highlights:
Companies List: Having trouble finding names of similar companies? Check this out for the names and links to their full profiles.
Trends and Opportunities versus Business Challenges: These are the two sides of the coin. Trends and Opportunities is the positive side and Business Challenges is the negative side.
Associated Industry Codes: These are the SIC and NAICS codes for your industry. These codes can be used to search in many of the other databases and will link you more quickly to exactly what you are looking for.
Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage CU provides information on selected industries and detailed company financials.
S&P NetAdvantage's has fewer industry surveys than Hoover's and Business Insights: Global, and they tend to be focused on bigger industries. Despite that, if your industry is covered by S&P you will find a deeper analysis, for example:
One nice feature of this report is the "How to Analyze a..." section. This report is for determining the value of a particular company, but it also outlines factors that potential investors will consider.
Tip: If you can't determine your industry try going at the problem sideways. Search a company similar to yours (for example, Amazon for a major online retail company) and see which industry they are a part of.
Business Insights: Global CU provides both industry and company information and is another good place to start your research.
First, select "Industries" from the top and you can then either browse or enter the NAICS code for your industry.
As you conduct your research it is helpful to know about the financial information of similar companies. These three books (the first two were the ones used in class), take those SIC and NAICS codes you found earlier and connect you with financial information on similar companies.
- Annual Statement Studies
- Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios
- D&B Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios
Use Google Trends to examine brand or product searches over time. The video below explains how to use this search to evaluate brands.
Power Searching with Google Quick Reference
Some useful examples are:
- (brand) strategy filetype:ppt
- (location) population site:gov
Mintel CU provides market research containing information on consumer trends, demographic profiles, brand share dynamics and market drivers. There are over 800 individual reports now available in 13 categories, with data covering US and select International Markets.
You can browse or search for reports on your industry's market in this database. When searching, try using broad terms for your industry, then you will get reports not only on your industry, but also on the consumers as well. See the results below searching for "pet":
These results not only talk about the market for pet food, supplies, and retail establishments, but also give information on pet owners.
e-Marketer CU provides a wealth of data on all things digital. This database contains approximately 80 reports published every year on e-commerce and Internet demographics (and all the reports published over the past 10 years), as well as some 60,000 articles and charts.
NOTE: This database is only available on campus.
Frost & Sullivan CU offers market research reports and forecasts. Strong in medical, engineering, biotech, and information & communication technology (ICT) research.
NOTE: Frost & Sullivan requires 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.
Local Market Audience Analysis
SRDS Online (Available in the Business Library only)
Directories with advertising rates, contact info and circulation/audience audit data for magazines, newspapers, radio stations, Internet sites and marketing list vendors.
SRDS Online also provides access to the Local Market Audience Analyst reports, including Market Profile Reports, Lifestyle Analysis Reports, Demographics Reports, and PRIZM Reports.
Simmons CU Contains media audience and market survey data collected through interviews and questionnaires covering consumer product, media, and lifestyle preferences. Utilized to determine the probable audience for certain products or services.
For an excellent overview of searching for and interpreting Simmons data, see these videos created by Jill Markgraf, Head of Research and Instruction at the McIntyre Library - University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
The first video explains how to find data about product use in specified demographic groups.
Linked from: www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6UGzwoyoGU.
The second video explains how to interpret the data.
Linked from: www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3Kl54PJ-m4.
Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is the only Federal survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers.
The Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau will no longer produce new volumes after this year. To access the most current data, please refer to the organizations cited in the source notes for each table of the Statistical Abstract.
American Factfinder is the easiest interface for searching census data, and the best source for freely-available data about the demographic characteristics of the US population. The video below was created by CU's own Government Information Library.
Still not finding what you are looking for? You can find even more databases in Business - Marketing and Advertising Information.
Research and analyze companies, industries, and economies around the world.
This database is an excellent place to find articles, SWOT analyses, company profiles, market research reports and industry surveys.
This resource 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 provides in-depth company profiles and is especially strong on company financial data. You can also find industry reports by clicking on the "Reports" tab then "industry reports" under the tab. Finally, you can also find a list of competitors (with the same data) under the competitors tab.
In addition to general "Top 10" lists and brand share rankings, there are hundreds of lists covering a huge range of (sometimes unexpected) topics.
Local Business Resources
Search for businesses by name, keyword, location, or industry. Financial information, employees, and operating expenses are listed as available, even for small businesses.
Boulder County Business Report: Business news, analysis, data, and statistics for Boulder and Broomfield counties. Access the library's subscription content using the link above for full-text articles, or browse headlines at www.bcbr.com.
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