Researching business intelligence for new ventures
District 3 library research seminar handout
When launching a new business, information about industries, markets or competitors can be invaluable. In this session, we will cover resources from the Internet as well as licensed market and industry intelligence databases available from Concordia University Library. This is a workshop adapted from the “Entrepreneurship” course at the John Molson School of Business
- Locate industry and market reports from the Internet and the Library
- Understand how to use datasets from Statistics Canada (Census & Cansim) and other national agencies
- Develop a healthy information diet
Proposed Course Outline
1. Where does information come from?
It is imperative to use both licensed (library) and free web sources to have a complete picture.
2. Know your industry
3. Using Google for business research (governments & trade associations)
4. Statistics Canada for entrepreneurs (including SimplyMaps)
5. Reading up on your idea & staying up to date with articles
- Think about your business idea when searching, use a variety of keywords:
- (1) industry (use NAICS, watch out for jargon)
- (2) trade associations
- (3) market leaders and major competitors
- (4) other subject term like a business trend
- News and articles from ProQuest Business Databases and EBSCO’s Business Source Complete.
- Setup an RSS feeds from ProQuest, EBSCO and Google to automatically receive notifications
We will use the Business Research Portal:
And this handout:
(We can discuss adapting these to the District3 website)
Business plans Information literacy
Quick & dirty outline of an intro to business research
Here is a draft outline I just created for a professor teaching an entrepreneurship class for Fine Arts students. Caveat being that these students are not business majors, so we have to spend more time explaining why each resource is useful and how to incorporate these sources in their assignments. Also, the bit about copyright is because they are Fine Arts students and the professor wanted me to cover this as well.
–> Please make sure students bring their devices or borrow laptops from the circulation desk to LB-322 <–
->Total duration: 150 minutes, which leaves room for a 15 minute break <-
1. Basic business & industry information
– Browse NAICS codes related to Fine Arts, enable students to discover their codes by engaging them to state their line of business
– Show the IBIS World system and present a sample report (uses NAICS codes)
– Show the SME Benchmarking system and a sample report (uses NAICS codes)
ACTIVITY: have students retrieve the IBIS World & SME Benchmarking reports. Troubleshoot NAICS codes & interface issues.
2. Basic market information
– Passport GMID
ACTIVITY: Can you identify one trend or statistic that can impact your project from either source?
3. Stats Can
– Census: know your neighbours!
– CANSIM: Household spending & more
– Mention SimplyMap but do not show it
ACTIVITY: What is the average household spending for your product? How do you define your market (geography, demographics, etc.)?
4. Articles (trends, major players…)
– Business Source Complete
ACTIVITY: Locate one article (news, trade or academic) which relates to your project.
– What does copyright mean for you?
– Using copyrighted content as part of your work
Business plans Information literacy Reference
Flowchart for researching a Company or an Industry
Stumbled on this flowchart from Jenny Mueller-Alexander at Arizona State University Libraries about researching a single company or an industry.
I like how the company process splits into private company and public company – which has a huge impact on the amount of information available. Remember that anything a company tells you is either to their benefit, either required my law (like disclosing financial statements when their equity is traded on public markets of capital like stock exchanges).
I’ve been meaning to adapt my similar research protocol for business students to distinguish between researching a business idea (entrepreneurship) that targets consumers versus other companies. This also has great bearing on how one researches the information for a business plan… more on that later…