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AEM 1230 - Introduction to Entrepreneurship: Home

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Mann Library supports the instruction, research, and extension programs of Cornell University'sCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Human Ecology.

No matter where you are in the research process, we encourage you to ask for information consulting services. Email us your question or request a consultation. Reference librarians are here to assist.

What is my company's Industry?

     What is my company's Industry?

Industries are typically defined by NAICS codes.   NAICS codes are 6 digit numbers, where each digit indicates a slightly more specific industry.  

For example:

33 = Manufacturing
327 = Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
3272 = Flass and Glass Product Manufacturing
327211 = Flat Glass Manufacturing

These codes help you to identify competitors, and they can help you find resources that will tell you more about your company's industry.

These codes are used throughout most of the databases that you will be using for this assignment.

Watch this quick video on using and understanding NAICS codes.

Many companies will be part of multiple industries, and as a result will have several NAICS codes. Look at the main company profile page in Hoover's to get an idea of what your company's primary Industry (and primary NAICS code) is.


Finding Business Plans

Step 1: Browse Business Plans using Gale Business Plan Handbooks

What: Gale Business Plans Handbooks provide actual business plans developed by small businesses throughout North America. New plans are published every year and the cost of production is updated.  If you find an older plan, then you can add inflation to the cost figures. 

How to use: Connect to Gale Business Plans Handbooks and search using keywords that broadly describe your business (e.g., restaurant, cafe,  car wash,  gallery, music, movies, etc). You cannot be too specific because if your idea is truly original, you are not going to find an exact business plan for your idea; if you do find an exact match,  then your idea is not original.

  • Electronic access:Gale Business Plans Handbooks
    Note: Sometimes the financials sections in the electronic plans are not very legible. In that event, print version of Business Plans Handbooks are available on campus.
  • Print Handbooks (Mann Library): HD62.7 .B865 2009 volume in Mann Reference (non-circulating) on first floor

Identify Geographic Target Markets and Demographics

Competitors and estimating Finances

If you have a plan that combines two businesses, like an organic coffee shop with a car wash),then actively seek competitor pricing for both industries.

Sources for identifying competitors

  • You can use free websites such as yellow pages to locate the competitions. For smaller geographic regions, this is likely your best resource.
  • Consult Hoovers Online or CareerBeam for higher quality information such as business names and some sales/revenue information. (Please note: You will have to create a log-in to use CareerBeam)
  • If you're calculating finances from scratch, you can try using eStatement studies to get an idea of the finances of other companies in that industry.  BizMiner is also useful for estimating finances.

Market Research

  • Use Mintel Academic database to locate national trends in the segment that you intend to serve.
  • Also check out IBISWorld and BizMiner for relevant Industry information.

Subject Guide

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Tom Ottaviano

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