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Entrepreneurship: Business Research: Home

Business Research

cover page for sample feasibility studyThis research guide will introduce you to business searching and business resources.  It is designed to help you complete your feasibility study as well as your business plan.

Start by watching the videos and exploring some of the resources available to you through the library and on websites.  You should complete:

START HERE: Business Searching Overview

STEP 1: Finding Books

STEP 2: Finding NAICS Codes

STEP 3: Searching ReferenceUSA

STEP 4: Searching Additional Databases

STEP 5: Demographics

Once you have done that, complete the Business Research Activity. 

Directions for completing the form can be found at the bottom of the guide.

START HERE - Business Searching Overview

Business woman

Click on the image above to link to the video introduction to business searching.

Steps to Business Research:

1) Determine the question you are trying to answer

2) Identify who might produce the information you are looking for and where you might look for it?  Is this government information, something that might be an article or blog, or something you have to investigate yourself?

3) Match your information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools

Transcript of Video

Today we are going to talk about searching for business information. Business searching is different from searching you may have done in other classes because of the type of information that is, and is not, available.

We will be looking for information about companies, about markets and market share, and also about the demographics of potential customers.

The library has subscription databases such as Reference USA, Business Source Elite, and Gale Directory Library to help you get access to the information you need.  You may also want to use census data, publicly available information from publicly traded companies, and books that have demographic or market share information.

Review the information on this research guide to learn more.

STEP 1: Finding Books

As you start your research you may want to access print or electronic books.

When you're in the library, you can browse for books on Business in the following call number areas:

  • HD   Industry and Labor
  • HE   Communication and Transportation
  • HF   Commerce
  • HG - HJ   Finance
Look below to see some of the books that are available through the MCC Library, or try searching the library catalog.  Try searching using keywords like "demographics" or "business plans"

The following reference book titles are available at the MCC Library. Clicking on a title will take you to its library catalog record.

STEP 2: Finding NAICS Codes

Start your business or industry research here FIRST!

To use many information sources, you must know the industry classification codes for the industry or company you want to research. Do you know your SIC and NAICS codes? If not, click here for NAICS codes.  (HINT:  It's pronounced "NAKES" codes)

To find the NAICS code for the industry you are looking at, just do a keyword search here (search the 2022 edition):  A keyword search is a simple search for the key word or phrase that you are looking for.  For instance you can search "pizza" if you want to locate the code for pizza parlors or pizza delivery, or "fitness" if you want to find the code for a fitness center or personal training.  If you have trouble finding a code for your industry, just ask a librarian for help.

NAICS codes cover entire industries and may include many types of businesses. Look carefully at your search results and click on the 6 digit code in order to view the full description and make sure you have the correct code.  The NAICS code will be useful when you search in books or databases for information.

What Are Industry Codes and How Do I Find Them?

What is an industry code?

An industry code is a number that represents an industry or type of business. These codes were developed by the U.S. government to make it easier to group businesses into categories called "industries," and to collect information about those industries.

Until 1997, the government used the Standard Industrial Classification system (often called "SIC"). SIC codes are four-digit numbers. The government now uses a system called North American Industrial Classification System ("NAICS"). NAICS codes are five- or six-digit numbers.

For example, the SIC code for the ice cream manufacturing industry is "2024." The NAICS code for the same industry is "311520."

Why do I need to know the SIC and NAICS codes for my industry?

Many business information sources are arranged by SIC or NAICS codes, so it's helpful to know your code(s) to find the information you need.

STEP 3: Searching Reference Solutions



Use Reference Solutions/ReferenceUSA for:

  • job searching
  • industry and market research
  • company research
  • relocation research

Click on the image for Reference Solutions/ReferenceUSA above to access the database and start your research.  The box below contains information and tips for searching ReferenceUSA.  

Searching Reference Solutions

The video above shows how to access the database and also demos a search for US Businesses

STEP 4: Searching Additional Databases

In addition to ReferenceUSA, the MCC library has other databases that you may find useful.  Clicking on the titles will take you directly into these databases.  You can search by keyword or using Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT.

Example searches:

pizza AND demographics

"pizza delivery" OR "pizza restaurant"

pizza NOT delivery

For more information on search strategies, take a look at the English research guide here.

STEP 5: Demographics

Demographics is the study of populations, including statistical information about groups of people.

Below you will find websites and library resources that can provide demographic information about consumers.

Almost Done...

Now that you have viewed the videos, found a NAICS code, and started your research in ReferenceUSA, there is just one step left. 

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and complete the Business Research Activity.  Your responses will be sent to your instructor so you get credit for completing this assignment.

The Last Step - Complete the Business Research Activity

Complete this after reviewing all the information on the guide.

Have a Question? Ask Me!

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Elizabeth Nelson
MCC Library

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Off-Campus Access to Databases

To access any database in this Research Guide from off campus, you will need your myMCC login.