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A guide to entrepreneurship and business plan resources

Industry Research Overview

Before you can start your company or think about new products, you'll need to understand the industry within which you will be operating.  Different industries have different threats and opportunities you'll need to consider: Pending legislation or a difficult regulatory environment?  High/low barriers to entry?  Major competitors and market concentration?  Standard cost structure?  All of these are issues you will address with your industry research. 

Often industry data is organized by classification system codes established by the U.S. government: NAICS or SIC codes.  Knowing the code(s) for your industry can be extremely useful in your research.  For more information on NAICS, visit the Census Bureau NAICS page. For more information on SIC codes, visit the Department of Labor SIC page.  Or contact the Business Librarian for help.

Best Bet for Industry Information: IBISWorld

ABI-Inform Industry Reports

First Research Industry Profiles in ABI/Inform are a good place to start researching U.S. industries. These reports are high-level overviews of U.S. industries. Click on the correct access link above and follow these instructions to find First Research Industry Profiles.

  • Select “Publications” (to the right of “Basic Search”)

ABI/Inform menu

  • Search for “First Research Industry Profiles” and select
  • In the “Search within this Publication” field, enter in key words for your industry and search
  • This will produce a list of First Research Industry Reports on your industry.  To get more specific add keywords (ie “Restaurant” and “fast food”).

You can sort your results by date or relevance.

Business Monitor International Industry Reports, also in ABI/Inform, are have reports for industries in countries that are not the U.S.

  • Select "Browse" (to the right of "Basic Search")

ABI/Inform menu browse

  • Look under first heading "Industry and Market Research"
  • Select "Business Monitor International (BMI) Industry Reports"