Research your customers, competition and market with help from Stephanie McReynolds

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Work with Syracuse University’s business, management, and entrepreneurship librarian, Stephanie McReynolds, to learn how to research your customers, competition, and market.  McReynolds will once again host Business Research Office Hours for Syracuse innovators and entrepreneurs by appointment. Learn how to identify relevant industry (NAICS) codes and how to use those codes to find industry reports and create lists of companies in business research databases. Discover article search strategies and find information through business article databases, such as ABI/INFORM and Business Source Elite.

McReynolds has put together a handy guide to help guide your secondary research and guide your work with her and has created an instructive video tutorial that entrepreneurship students may find to be helpful.  See the tutorial here:

Work with McReynolds to understand where your business idea fits into the existing industry landscape and explore business information guides here:  On that guide, you will also find the link to schedule an appointment for a research consultation with McReynolds, as well as her contact information, or you can schedule an appointment with her by Zoom on this quick link: click here.

Among the on-line tools you can find help utilizing:

Resources to Identify Industry Codes to Find Industry Reports and Industry Financials:

  • Identify relevant industry codes (NAICS and SIC codes)
  • Use the industry codes to discover industry reports in business research databases, such as:
    • Business Insights: Essentials
    • IBISWorld
    • Mergent Intellect (First Research module)
  • Use the industry codes to find industry financials in business research databases, such as:
    • Bizminer
    • Mergent Intellect (Key Business Ratios module)

Resources to Explore Industry Data and Reports Provided by the U.S. Government:

  • Browse government websites, such as the following:
    • Bureau of Economic Analysis
      • BEA Industry Facts page
      • Data by Topic page
    • Small Business Administration:
      • Market research and competitive analysis page
      • Office of Advocacy Research and Statistics page
    • United States Census Bureau
      • American FactFinder (main portal to United States Census data)
      • Business & Industry page

Resources to Identify and Connect with Industry Associations:

  • Identify relevant industry associations (such as the National Coffee Association) with business research databases, such as
    • Business Insights: Essentials
    • Mergent Intellect (First Research module)
    • Plunkett Research Online
  • Browse industry association websites and connect on social media to find relevant industry statistics, reports, and insights
  • Consider joining a reputable relevant industry association, if the benefits of membership would help you to achieve your business goals

Resources to do Company Research

Create Lists of Companies with Industry Codes:

  • Use relevant NAICS or SIC codes to create lists of companies in business databases, such as:
    • Mergent Intellect
    • ReferenceUSA : Business
    • Nexis Uni

Resources for Research on Specific Companies:

  • Find company financials, executive contact info, annual reports, SWOT analyses, and more in business databases such as:
    • Business Insights: Essentials
    • Mergent Online
    • PrivCo
    • Westlaw Campus Research

Resources for Market Research

Learn about the existing research and data on your potential customers and market outlook.

Resources to Find Demographics and Reports on Consumer Behavior and Market Outlook:

  • Explore government websites, such as the following:
    • American FactFinder (main portal to United States Census data)
    • Bureau of Economic Analysis (Consumer Spending page)
    • Bureau of Labor Statistics:
      • American Time Use Survey page
      • Consumer Expenditures page
    • Search business research databases such as:
      • Business Insights: Essentials (Market Share Reports module)
      • eMarketer
      • com Academic
      • Mergent Intellect (Demographics module and Consumer Data module)
      • Mintel Reports
      • MRI University Reporter
      • Richard K. Miller & Associates Publications
      • SimplyAnalytics

Resources to Find Information from Articles and News

Learn even more about your industry, market, and competitors through articles in news and trade publications, as well as academic journals and popular magazines.

  • Search business article databases, such as:
    • ABI/INFORM Collection
    • Business Source Elite
  • Expand your search by exploring multidisciplinary databases, such as ProQuest
  • Keep current with what is going on in your industry and related news by setting up a Feed Reader