Finding information about companies and their products can be challenging. This page provides some tips for locating this information.
Start by learning about NAICS codes and how they can be used to locate information about a particular industry. Then, take a look at ReferenceUSA to see how you can find information about companies in a certain city, zip code, or region.
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): https://www.census.gov/naics/. 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.
Use Reference Solutions/ReferenceUSA for:
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.
The video above shows how to access the database and also demos a search for US Businesses