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