Business plans

Am I researching the right industry (NAICS Code)?

One of the key milestones in researching a business plan involves identifying the correct industry – or industries, as there may me many – to do some digging. This is important to understand your business idea, its business model and its industry. Here is a video I prepared about this:

A key success measure of this step involves identifying specific industry codes, such as the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes. These codes will speed up searching through value added databases licensed by your Library (such as these from Concordia University). Remember: you probably should identify the following industry (NAICS) codes, five (5) digit codes are optimal:

  1. The industry code in which your business “fits”
  2. Industry codes for businesses who pose substantial parallel competition (for example, 51511 Radio Broadcasting vs. 518210 – Data processing, hosting, and related services for music streaming)
  3. Industry codes for suppliers or buyers (if you are in a business-to-business setting) if they are substantially larger than you (which notes business risk based on market power). Looking up and down the supply chain is up to you.
  4. Any other industry code meaningful for your business, particularly those that may disrupt your business environment.

Now to the point: how do you know if you have the right industry codes? Well, this depends entirely on how much effort you are willing to put into researching your business project (arguably, the more codes you have, the more reading you will have to do) as well as, well, the fear of missing out (leaving an industry code “out” of the scope of your research means you run the risk of not getting your hands on key insight for your project). This is entirely up to you and I really can’t weigh in about this. Caveats aside, here are some simple advice to assist you in making your own mind as to which industry codes to pick and how many you need:

  1. Read the definitions of these codes from the Statistic Canada NAICS Codes page. This site sometimes include example activities and excluded activities (arguably, for some older versions of the codes, so the latest edition of the classification schedule may not have example or excluded activities).
  2. Read the IBIS World report for the Canadian industry (NAICS) code and look at the “About this industry — Supply Chain” section. When you access any specific report on IBIS, this is the section shown on the landing page of the Web interface (with the red dot & arrows). On te PDF report, it is located on page 2 – “similar industries” and their NAICS Codes are listed there.
  3. Use a business directory (e.g.: phone book) of small businesses, such as Mergent Intellect (formerly D&B Million Dollar Database) to look for specific companies, such as direct competitors. Industry codes are listed on the information page for a company in these systems. Remember – these directories may be wrong imprecise as companies may be misfiled by the analysts (or algorithms) filing companies in directories… but this is an interesting way to get feedback about the codes you’ve selected for your project.
  4. Search for articles for that specific industry (NAICS) Code – NOT GOOGLE. For example, you can use ProQuest Business Databases and type: NAICS 45391. You usually get articles and market reports on or about this code (sometimes you get a but of noise, but you can easily ignore this). Reading up on news for an industry codes is a great way to determine if this code is interesting or relevant for your project.

At the end of the day, it is up to you to determine if you have the correct industry (NAICS) code(s) and if you have enough of them.

Good luck!

Guidelines - recommendations Information literacy Publishing

Articles for business & academic insight

This post contains the lecture notes I will be using in an honors level undergraduate class. Remember, the library offers a Business Research Portal.

1. Is there information on the Internet?

  • Lecture; 10 minutes
  • Synthesis: Information (or more precisely: facts, opinions and data) is contained in documents. Documents may be posted on the Internet or published in electronic or print venues accessible through subscriptions or other forms of payment. A successful search for information implies thinking about (1) the motivations of those creating documents (e.g.: the goal) and their (2) expectations about posting on the internet or publishing in paid-for venues (e.g.: the source).

2. Compare articles

  • Activity; 10 minutes; Compare articles from various sources: blog, magazine, trade journal, Wikipedia, subject encyclopedia and scholarly journal

Paper copies: magazines and scholarly journals

Wikipedia (Entry for International business) vs. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (entry for International Business)

Blog (The benefits of online gambling) vs. Research Article (Video Lottery is the Most Harmful Form of Gambling in Canada)

  • Focus: distinction between free or invisible (library) web
  • Synthesis: all articles are not created for the same audiences. Academic or peer-reviewed articles are the standard way to publish research results. University students are groomed to craft academic articles through writing papers as part of the requirements for their classes

3. Academic articles: structure and editorial process of scholarly communication

  • Lecture; 10 minutes
  • Synthesis: Structure & Editorial process of scholarly communication.
  • Structure of an academic article: research questions; conceptual framework; hypothesis/objectives and method; data & analysis; conclusion (very similar to an academic paper)
  • Process: peer review

4. Tools & strategies

  • Activity: 20 minutes
  • Transforming concepts to keywords for database searching
  • Compare Google Scholar and a library article database
  • Working from a known item – read the bibliography and explore related articles. Locate the article in a database and obtain keywords
  • Data sources on the Internet – be mindful of secrets

5. Outputs

Annotated bibliography: 5 minutes

Academic paper: 5 minutes

Using MS Word(tm) with style

Citing business databases in APA format

Automated citation system: RefWorks or Zotero

6. Questions and discussion

 

From the Library

This is a list of existing pages or resources on the library website about articles.

Business Research Portal: list of Articles databases

Library Research Skills Tutorial: Finding articles

Finding

Articles

Peer-reviewed articles

How to identify scholarly, academic or peer-reviewed articles (pptx, 2.6 mb)

Evaluating

How to evaluate research materials and resources

Articles

Websites

Writing

Annotated bibliography

Literature review

Research paper

Writing assistance

Citing

Automated citation system: RefWorks or Zotero

How to cite: APA style

Export/import instructions for databases

Help

Ask-A-Librarian (Email, Chat, In person, phone)

Contact a business librarian (including Olivier) via lib-business@concordia.ca

Food

6.4 million Canadians limit the amount of meat they eat

Charlebois, Somogyi, Music, 2018, p. 37

Researchers at Dalhousie University released the preliminary results of a study of eating habits amongst Canadians. Titled:Plant-based dieting and meat attachment: Protein wars and the changing Canadian consumer (Charlebois, Somogyi, Music, 2018).

Interestingly:

Sixty-three per cent of respondents following a vegan diet—free from all animal-based products—were under the age of 38. Younger consumers are also less likely to believe that eating meat is a fundamental right. (from press release)

Statistics Canada does not currently compile statistics about vegans.

Screen capture of StatCan’s website for “vegan” on this page: “Does Statistics Canada collect this information?”

Olivier Charbonneau

Olivier Charbonneau is an associate Librarian at Concordia University, Olivier Charbonneau is primarily interested in copyright issues as well as questions of open access and Web 2.0. He is a doctoral student at the Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal. He has over 15 years of professional involvement in library and cultural communities. He holds two masters degrees from Université de Montréal, one in information sciences and another in law, as well as an undergraduate degree in commerce from McGill University.

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