Course Research Pages

Mgt 101 - Business Plan Assignment

Finding Consumer and Market Information for Understanding Your Audience

Use existing data that others have gathered to learn as much as you can about your target market.

U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder
This resource provides a wealth of demographic information about people, geography, and businesses that will help you as you start a business. Enter a state, city, county, or zip code into the Community Facts box at the top of the page and then take a look at some of the options in the left-hand column to find out about a community's population, age, education, income, and other data.

Consumer Expenditure Survey
Provides information on the buying habits of American consumers.

Passport (Global Market Information Database)
Use the "Countries & Consumers" tab in the top horizontal menu. Choose "Consumer Trends and Lifestyles" from the dropdown menu. You can choose a category or a country to explore more. There is also a search box in the upper right of the page for searching by keyword. This database contains a large amount of marketing information and can be difficult to navigate. Ask a librarian if you need help.

The following books from Bowman Library also contain consumer and market information:

The Lifestyle Market Analyst (spending habits by population segments and metropolitan areas)

Household Spending: Who Spends How Much on What

Best Customers: Demographics of Consumer Demand

Demographics USA

Who's Buying by Age

Finding Industry and Company Information

Use the following resources for finding information on your industry, competitors, and competing products. You'll need this kind of information for describing your new business venture, as well as for writing your marketing plan.

Business Insights: Essentials
Use this database to find overviews of the industry into which your business fits; use the NAICS code if you know it. Also find info about companies that are competitors to your business; some SWOT analyses are available.

Business Source Complete
Search here for industry profiles, marketing research reports, SWOT analyses, and profiles of companies that might be competitors of your planned business.

Mergent Online
Use the "Report Search" tab and then click on "Industry Reports" to go to a list of broad industry categories to find industry reports. OR expand the "Industries" box to find companies that are part of your industry.
Use the "Company Search" box to find info about competitors to your business.

Passport (Global Market Information Database)
Use the horizontal pull-down menu at the top to choose an industry; build your search by category and then geographic location. Search will bring back various statistics, such as market shares, company shares, industry overviews, and reports.

U.S. Census Bureau Economic Census
Use the "Industry/Local Business Statistics" tab and go to "Industry Snapshots" which provide detailed industry info, along with figures on employee salaries and number of establishments, all based on census data. Watch a video on how to do this here.

U.S. Census Bureau County Business Patterns
This division of the Census Bureau will help you determine number of establishments and some approximate salaries for the county in which you plan to locate your business.

Finding Sample Business Plans

The Library has many books with sample business plans that can help you craft yours. You can find them by using the following subject headings:

Information on writing business plans is also available from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Bplans is a good source for free sample business plans; financials are included.

Video About Getting Started on Research for Your Business Plan

Page Last Updated: February 05 2014

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Research Tips

These Research Guides have been prepared by librarians to assist with your research. Read more:

Evaluating Web Resources

Critically Analyzing Information Sources

Searching Electronic Resources Effectively

For more information on citation style, see:

Citing Your Research

Related Guides

Company Research Guide

Industry Research Guide