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Business Plan Research Christine Drew Manager, Instruction & Outreach WPI Gordon Library Help  Guides & Tutorials  Business Plan Resources Help  Course Related  ETR592 Research Strategies Agenda Idea generation Business plans sources & samples

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business plan research

Business Plan Research

Christine Drew

Manager, Instruction & Outreach

WPI Gordon Library

  • Help  Guides & Tutorials Business Plan Resources
  • Help  Course Related ETR592 Research Strategies
  • Idea generation
  • Business plans sources & samples
  • Competitors and Industry Information
  • Finding books for inventors/entrepreneurs
  • Finding financials and industry norms
  • Strategies for finding more specific information
research from off campus
Research from Off Campus

Connect through our proxy server to gain access to library subscription sources. Even if web searching.

This is different from the VPN!

View Quick Clip on Research from Off Campus < 2 minutes

business concepts
Online Interactive Game

Target age 9-Adult casual players

Board Game

Target age 9-Adult

Business Concepts

Begin to knowyour industry, competition, customers, numbers, supply chain & distribution options …

business plans sources samples
Business Plans: Sources & Samples
  • United States Small Business Administration - Business Plan Basics
  • Business Plan Preparation - Tools for Writing Business Plans - excellent financial template in Excel format
find competitors
Find Competitors
  • Company Directories
  • Patent searching
  • Where would you buy it?
    • Stores
    • Distributors sites
    • Catalogs
    • Online Shopping
    • Specialty sites
track down trade journals
Track Down Trade Journals

Start @

Search Library Journals

Search game*, gaming, toys…

find industry information sources
Find Industry Information Sources
  • Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources
  • Trade associations
    • Toy Industry Association
    • International Council of Toy Industries

REF HF5353 E9

find books for inventors entrepreneurs
Find Books for Inventors/Entrepreneurs
  • at WPI (library catalog) | Beyond (WorldCat) | Amazon | Google Books
  • Not finding anything? Broaden search
  • Try Interlibrary Loan to request books or articles that WPI doesn’t own
research strategies
Research Strategies
  • Effective Web Searching
  • Identify the Right Search Terms & Tool
search library databases
Search Library Databases
  • Connect to  All Databases & Electronic Resources  Industry
keyword crazy just a few to start with
MARKETING: advertising OR marketing OR campaigns OR sales promotion OR product samples OR target market* OR physical distribution OR pricing OR packaging OR sponsor* OR NPD OR new product development

INDUSTRY: Use your industry keywords AND (industry OR market OR forecast* OR trends OR sales OR units OR market share OR market size OR barriers)

COSTS and OPERATIONS: labor OR materials OR suppliers OR supply chain OR logistics OR transportation OR distribution OR overhead OR capital invest* OR production OR manufactur*

TIPS: Use * (asterisk) to truncate in most databases, but within LexisNexis Guided News, use ! (exclamation point)

Use “ quotes around phrases ”

Keyword Crazy: Just A Few To Start With
the right terms the right tool
The Right Terms & The Right Tool

Typing in the keyword “competitors” and your product just won’t work

  • Search Hoovers, other company directories
  • Check 10-K (EDGAR or Hoovers) for competitor section of a peer company that may be publicly traded (Use Ctrl-F to find compet)
  • Track down specific directories of companies: print or online
    • Toy Directory
  • Track down member directory of industry association:
    • Member list of Toy Industry Association (must be a member)
  • Search or visit sites where this type of product would be sold with a competitive matrix chart in hand
get organized search specific areas
Get Organized & Search Specific Areas

Download useful spreadsheets such as this one @ and use web & library database searches to fill in the blanks

the best source may even be
The Best Source May even be…

…a book!

Table of Contents

Sample Pages

more terms tools
More Terms & Tools…

Typing in “market barriers” won’t work

  • Find out who’s entered the market by reading articles, looking at new product introductions (announcements in trade magazines, customer/product reviews)
  • Search industry sources by NAICS code 339932 Game, Toy, and Children's Vehicle Manufacturing
      • in EBSCOhost Business Source Premier, use filter option to look at SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) for toy companies, distributors, manufacturers. Also check for toy industry profiles, and market research reports.
  • Search for industry news within LexisNexis Academic and article databases
  • Zone in on consumer adoption issues - Consumer Reports or
  • Economic Census Concentration Ratios - classifies industries by the percent of output accounted for by the largest 4, 8, 20 and 50 companies.
info gaps more specific information
Info Gaps? More Specific Information

Ask a librarian for suggestions…

  • Market research reports $$$.
  • For industry size/growth - Economic Census
  • Consumer data & preferences: how many potential buyers; where do they live/shop?
    • Check American FactFinder
    • New Strategist publications in library (Household Spending; Millennial Generation, etc.)
    • WPI's databases which have statistical data
  • Government sources such as the Consumer Expenditure Survey(see example on cell phone expenditures)

Finding Financials & Comparables

  • LexisNexis Company Dossier
  • Thomson ONE Banker Analytics
  • More company research tools…
industry norms ratios peer groups
Industry Norms: Ratios/Peer Groups



Definition of Ratios(PDF)

Sample Financial Ratio Benchmarks(PDF)

Listing of industries in the Annual Statement Studies® sorted by NAICS(PDF)

even more financials
Even More Financials…
  • Try to pick a publicly traded company you could benchmark with (check Hoovers or THOMSON ONE Banker)
  • Find a similar recent IPO (check Hoovers IPO Central – linked at bottom of Analyze IPO data within SEC filings: S-1, Securities Registration Statement and 424B Prospectus.
beyond wpi interlibrary loan your public library
Beyond WPI: Interlibrary Loan & Your Public Library
  • Use Interlibrary Loan to get things we don’t own – easy to use:
  • Public Library Resources:
    • Worcester Public Library & Boston Public Library have databases of possible interest: remotely with your public library card
    • Visit WPL for Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys which are useful in determining how to analyze an industry. See sample.

Within WorldCat

Within Library Catalog


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