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Business Research: - Start with a Company

Start researching an industry by looking up a company engaged in the industry

If you don't know the NAICS/SIC or you're not sure what words will be used to name the industry, then start by looking up information about a specific company engaged in the industry. For example, industry resources might refer to:

  • automobile industry
  • car manufacturing
  • motor vehicles
  • transportation, highway--vehicles
  • vehicles, motor--personal

and you might spend a lot of time hunting for the right words to describe the category. By looking up descriptive information for Ford Motor Company, you quickly discover:

  • SIC
    • 3711 Motor Vehicles & Car Bodies
    • 5012 Automobiles & Other Motor Vehicles
    • 336111 Automobile Manufacturing
    • 336211 Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing

The same advice holds true when beginning a search for articles providing an overview of an industry or industry trends. Instead of trying to figure out what words will describe the industry, search for the names of three or four major companies engaged in the industry since they're highly likely to be mentioned.

Starting with a company also helps identify horizontal or vertical diversification

For example, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is involved in many different industry sectors, including:

  • 452990 - All Other General Merchandise Stores
  • 445110 - Supermarkets and Other Grocery (except Convenience) Stores
  • 446110 - Pharmacies and Drug Stores
  • 452111 - Department Stores (except Discount Department Stores)
  • 452910 - Warehouse Clubs and Superstores
  • 722110 - Full-Service Restaurants

If your intent is to research drug stores as an industry then you're probably not going to search for industry data about "warehouse clubs & superstores".

Quick Sources for General Information about a Company