If you're thinking of starting your own business, or you're in business and need to keep up with trends, you can save time by using the industry and market research databases at NYPL's business library, SIBL. The library provides access to a range of premium information which is not available free on the Internet. At SIBL, you can research an industry or market sector to get the background and data you need for a business plan or for a marketing plan.
Two of the best industry databases are First Research and Plunkett's Research Online, both available onsite at SIBL.
First Research, a top choice for industry and market research, provides industry profiles, trends, executive insight, finacial data and more. A unique feature of First Research is the "Call Preparation Questions," customized for each industry, which provide a view of current issues, business operations and challenges facing those in the industry. Study the questions in your chosen industry and develop your own. As part of your research, you will plan to speak with business owners and executives who are already working in the industry you will focus on, and you can use some of the "call prep" questions when networking with business owners or making cold calls to learn more about your industry and operations.
With Plunkett's Research Online, you can easily create and download (or email yourself) an in-depth profile of an industry in just a few minutes, complete with the latest market research, top companies, associations, and statistics. You'll love Plunkett's "Build a Report" feature if you haven't used it before.
As you continue to research your industry, you'll discover which companies are the "top" companies in your field, and you'll need to learn more about them. Reference USA, an online directory of U.S. companies, providing details on more than 24 million U.S. companies, is an excellent source for your market research. You can search for companies by just using a keyword to do an industry search, even without looking up industry codes. You can also limit your results by location, i.e, a zip code, neighborhood, city, etc. or select a location on a map. You can download lists of companies to a USB drive at no cost. When you've decided which companies are your main competition, you can find more details about their products and services, and then plan a strategy to enter the market with your own unique product or service.
SIBL's librarians can help with business, industry and market research, and SIBL provides business counseling onsite through a partnership with SCORE. For small business information and assistance, try out smallbiz.nypl.org, NYPL's small business website. Smallbiz.nypl.org links to sample business plans, calendars of business events in NYC, and a services directory of organizations which assist small businesses. NYC.gov, New York City government's website assists businesses through the department of Small Business Services (SBS) and Business Solutions.
And for more tips on doing business planning research, these links may be helpful: Reference USA, Finding Trade Journals, and Trade Associations.