Resources for Market, Industry, and Business Plan Research

Sections of this topic

    Market, Industry, and Business Plan Research Resources

    Careful research really is important for the success of your business. It’s definitely worth your time and extra effort to find relevant, timely, and credible research information. Keep these things in mind:

    What Does the Research Provide for Me?

    • Industry and customer base information
    • Advertising focus
    • Customers’ preferences and habits
    • Market and industry trends
    • Where and when to advertise
    • Preparation paves the way for inspiration
    • Return on investment for your advertising dollars

    Find the Answers to these Questions:

    • Where is my product/service typically sold or advertised?
    • Might there be other places where I can showcase my business?

    Research Tips

    Keep track of where you found your information and search terms

    • Helps you mine for more information at a later date
    • Backtracking to a source is difficult
    • Forgetting a successful search term is easy

    Types of Information that May be Helpful:

    • Niche-specific magazines and competitors’ brochures & flyers
    • Facts/figures/trends
    • How-to information
    • Pricing
    • Legal issues
    • Hidden markets
    • Secondary places to advertise your product or service

    Note: Thanks to Pratt Library for tips and techniques.


    Statistical Information – Fedstats

    Available to the public since 1997, provides access to the full range of FREE RESEARCH SOURCES – official statistical information produced by the Federal Government without having to know in advance which Federal agency produces which particular statistic. With convenient searching and linking capabilities to more than 100 agencies that provide data and trend information on such topics as economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, farm production, and more, FedStats is the one location for access to the full breadth of Federal statistical information.

    Statistical Abstract of the U.S.

    Publication of the United States Census Bureau, an agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Published annually since 1878, the statistics describe social and economic conditions in the United States. The 2010 (129th Edition) Statistical Abstract of the United States contains 30 sections, 926 pages, and over 1300 individual tables covering over 200 topics including income and wealth, imports-exports, agriculture, energy production and consumption, natural resources, and some international comparisons. All information is downloadable in PDF and Excel spreadsheet formats. The statistical abstract is the standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It is also designed to serve as a guide to other statistical publications and sources. (

    SIC or NAICS code

    The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by the Federal government to classify business establishments for the purpose of government contracting and statistical analysis. Both Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes identify a firm’s primary business activity. These codes can be used in market research to find industry-related studies and overviews.

    The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research

    The world’s largest and oldest opinion archives and access to thousands of opinion polls.
    Library of public opinion data, focusing on data preservation and access, education, and research on public opinion.

    An extensive list of FREE RESEARCH SOURCES – Business, Computer, Engineering, and Trade magazines, white papers, downloads, and podcasts to find the titles that best match your skills; topics include management, marketing, operations, sales, and technology. Simply complete the application form and submit it. All are absolutely free to professionals who qualify.

    Search the database of over 150,000 magazines, journals, newsletters, & other periodicals. Find FREE RESEARCH SOURCES – in-depth information on familiar and hard-to-find publications from around the world, representing thousands of topics.

    What sources have you found invaluable for researching your marketing plan or business plan?


    For more resources, see our Library topics Marketing and Social Networking.

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    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman: With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant, and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients to establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @