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MGT4500: Small Business Management: Welcome/Getting Started


Welcome to the Cheng Library's guide to small business management! We will show you a variety of sources, both through the library and on the web, that will help you. In addition, this guide provides suggestions for researching both the product/service as well as the industry demand. Throughout the guide, we use the example of a coffee shop or bakery/cafe to illustrate the sources. 

Defining the Product or Service

An important first step is to think about the industry or industries most associated with the product or service.

For example, if I am interested in starting a bakery cafe, do I need to research:

  • the restaurant business,
  • the fast food industry
  • the coffeehouse/cafe business
  • retail bakeries
  • or all of the above?


Industry Codes

Census data is often a good source of industry information. Use the NAICS/SIC codes to locate information such as establishments, employees, shipments and sales.

Using the "bakery/cafe" concept, here are some potentially relevant NAICS codes...

  • 311811 -  Retail Bakeries
  • 445291 -  Baked Goods Stores
  • 722515 -  Coffee shops
  • 722513 -  Fast-Food Restaurants
  • 722511 -  Full Service restaurants


Competitive Environment

Thinking about your product/service and it's relationships with other businesses will help you construct the competitive environment.

For example,

  • think about Starbucks and its key competitors, from the perspective of a fast food or simply coffee, who are possible competitors?
  • think about Starbucks as a restaurant, can you suggest other competitors?
  • think about Starbucks as a bakery/cafe, does that suggest other competitors

What business is Starbiucks in? Since this is a public company, the 10-K report provides a good discussion of the business.

 For comparison, Panera offers a different description of it's business.


Small Business Administration

In addition to providing a host of useful information, The Small Business Administration offers a series of short videos on YouTube of interest to entrepreneurs.