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4 Key Databases for Business Research
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4 Key Databases for Business Research



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  • 1. Databases for Small Business Research
    Ann Schoenenberger, MLIS
    Digital Librarian
    Kenton County Public Library
    Presented by:
  • 2. Evaluate and confirm
    “How do you know you’re basing your decisions on the best information?”
    “Are you sure that the information you found from a search engine is really the most accurate, most current, and most complete?”
    -Mary Ellen Bates “Now That You’ve Fired Your Boss.” Searcher
  • 3. Criteria to evaluate web sites and data
  • 4. Types of Secondary Data
    Demographic reports/tables
    Scientific studies
    Media surveys
    Public polls
    Prices and specifications
    Industry reports
    Business knowledge/procedure
    Directories and indexes
  • 5. Who cares? Sources of secondary research
    Trade associations
    Government agencies
    Market research firms
    News reporters
    Chambers of Commerce
    Economic development and business councils
    Business librarians
  • 6. Case study: Restaurant
    Jane Smith would like to start a restaurant somewhere in the Cincinnati region. She’s worked in restaurants and knows about their operation but has no experience in management or marketing. She’s compiled information from the Web using Google. Now she plans to search the library resources based on advice by her SCORE counselor. What type of information is available online through library databases?
  • 7. Before her visit to the library website.
    Jane works with her counselor on a list of questions and assumptions she’d like to confirm with research.
    Note: each business is different and there is no guarantee the data exists. In these cases, primary research may be the answer.
  • 8. Jane needs to answer questions and test assumptions such as these.
    What is the state of the restaurant industry?
    Who are the competitors in the region?
    Where is the best location for her business?
    What is my target market and what are they like?
    I will sell enough meals to make a profit. [est. _____]
    There is a market for another _________restaurant in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky.
  • 9. Good place to begin research
    Contents include traditional business reference titles in digital format
    170 journals for general and specific industries
    Published by Gale, part of Cengage Learning
    All content is selected for its relevance to the small business owner/entrepreneur.
    Available from :
  • 10. Jane goes to:
  • 11. 11
    Primary content: Reference Titles
  • 12. Key Contents of Small Business Resource Center
    Small Business Sourcebook
    Overviews by business type, a good starting point for research
    including contacts for trade associations and shows.
    Business Plans Handbook
    Sample business plans to model or improve upon
    Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources
    Guide to where to find valuable statistics and data
    170 Trade publications
    Articles, surveys, trends and reports
    Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns
    Summary of successful marketing by major companies
    Consultants and Consulting Organizations Directory
    Listing of consultants by business type and expertise
  • 13. Jane searches Small Business Resource Center:
    She uses search terms such as restaurant and food industry and keeps notes on relevant subject terms.
    Jane finds:
    several business plans one of which provides detailed financial statements.
    overviews for different restaurant types one of which is for “Healthy Restaurants”
    relevant trade associations in a directory listing
    a consultant to contact for startup help
    some articles for background information, business topics such as how to perform market analysis, and information on restaurant franchises in Franchise World
  • 14. Example subject terms and topics:
    Brand image
    Business associations
    Business communication
    Business expansion
    Business failures
    Business networks (Social groups)
    Business planning
    Business sale
    Business success
    Business to business market
    Cash flow
    Customer service
    Debt financing
    Employee benefits
    Employment discrimination
    Family-owned businesses
    Financial statements
    Health insurance
    Home based businesses
    Human resource management
    Independent contractors
    Internet marketing
    Market research
    Market strategy
    Minority business enterprises
    Occupational safety and health
    Payroll tax
    Product development
    Product introduction
    Risk management
    S corporations
    Self employed persons
    Small business assistance
    Small business computer systems
    Small business investment companies
    Small business lending companies
    Social security taxes
    Sole proprietorships
    Target marketing
    Tax planning
    Venture capital
    Wages and salaries
    Women-owned businesses
  • 15. Tip: Advanced search for market data
    Type in the industry in one search box and then select one or more of the following document types/subjects:
    Statistical data
    Statistical table
    Market overview
    Market share report
  • 16. Jane does an advanced search
  • 17. Jane goes to:
  • 18.
  • 19. Business Source Premier is one of many specialized databases from EBSCO Publishing
  • 20. Build industry knowledge
    Full text for more than 2,150 journals
    Published by EBSCO publishing
    Content is selected on relevance to business which means some content is intended for larger companies/corporations.
    Available from :
  • 21. Primary contents: Journals
    Trade Journals
    Business Magazines
    Peer-Reviewed journals [Academic]
    Company profiles
    Industry reports
    SWOT analysis
  • 22. General Business Publications
    American Journal of Small Business
    Black Enterprise
    Business Week
    Business Week Online
    Consumer Reports
    Consumers' Research Magazine
    Forbes Global
    Fortune (Europe)
    FSB: Fortune Small Business
    Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship
    U.S. News & World Report
  • 23. Search Tools
  • 24. Jane searches
    Business Source Premier:
    • Uses keywords such as restaurant industry.
    • 25. Takes notes of relevant subject headings
    • 26. Checks for trade publications in her industry
    • 27. Looks for articles in business publications
    • 28. Looks for relevant economic, market, industry, and company reports.
    Jane finds:
    • Restaurant Business, Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurants & Institutions
    • 29. Franchising World, Marketing Magazine,& Chain Leader
  • 30. Sets up an alert to receive new issues as they are published and made available
    Identifies a relevant food industry report
    Jane tries these and other searches:
  • 31. Suggested Subject Headings
    Independent restaurants
    Restaurant management
    Strategic planning
    Consumer [attitudes, preferences, confidence, etc.]
    Dinners & dining-economic aspects
    Food industry & trade
    Economic conditions
    Surveys or Market surveys
    Food industry & trade
  • 32. Tip: Search for market research companies & institutes
    Pew Internet & American Life
    Brookings Institution
    Forrester Research
    Gartner Research
    For most consumers, attractive value propositions are about more than heaping plates of food. Chicago-based market researcher Technomic finds 85% of consumers agree that "good service and a pleasant restaurant environment are part of what value means"; 44% agree that "value means lots of food for a low price.“
    Quality Trumps Quantity. Restaurants & Institutions, 02735520, Feb2010, Vol. 120, Issue 2: Business Source Premier
    Food industry:
  • 33. Competitor /B2B research
    Create custom searches based on business type, geography, and other limiters.
    Get basic information for companies.
    Published by ReferenceGroup
    Basically an enhanced phone book/directory that enables dynamically created lists.
    Available from :
  • 34. Limit results by:
    Business Type [SIC or NAICS]
    Geography [State, City, Zip, Radius, County, Address, Metro, Neighborhood]
    Business Size [Sales volume, employees]
    Ownership [Home based, Public/Private Company, Headquarter/Branch, Foreign Parent]
    Financial data [Expenditures]
    Year established, Square footage, # of PCs
  • 35. Jane searches ReferenceUSA
    • Identifies relevant SIC codes for restaurants
    • 36. Limits geography to Metro Cincinnati
    • 37. Creates a summary report by SIC and zip code
    Zip code
    # of establishments
  • 38. Jane refines her search
    She decides to focus on one type of restaurants “Italian”
    She creates a summary report of estimated sales volume by zip code.
    Downloads detailed information about each restaurant in Excel format
    Edits spreadsheet to analyze the data:
    franchise vs. independent
  • 39. Jane goes to:
  • 40. GIS based application with downloadable summary, comparison, and ranking demographic and expenditure reports based on user-selected geographic locations.
    Estimates and projections are based on Census, USPS, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medicare, Internal Revenue Service, and Experian's INSOURCE data.
    Published by Alteryx, LLC and Gale Cengage Learning.
    Useful for gathering basic demographic information, location selection, and market analysis.
    Available from :
  • 41. Demographic Variables
    • Population
    • 42. Population by household type (family, non-family, group quarters)
    • 43. Households
    • 44. Households by type (family, non-family)
    • 45. Households by size of household
    • 46. Households by age of head of household
    • 47. Household type (e.g. lone parent male family with children)
    • 48. Average Household Size
    • 49. Population by age (19 age breaks)
    • 50. Population by age and sex (38 breaks)
    • 51. Population by sex
    • 52. Population by race
    • 53. Population by Hispanic origin
    • 54. Population by race and Hispanic origin (e.g. white Hispanic, white non-Hispanic)
    • 55. Population by Marital Status
    • 56. Population by Educational Achievement
    • 57. Labor Force Employment Status
    • 58. Labor Force Employment Status by Sex
    • 59. Aggregate Income (family, non-family households, group quarters)
    • 60. Household income distribution (15 breaks)
    • 61. Family income distribution (15 breaks)
    • 62. Extended Upper-Income distributions
    • 63. Median and average income (family, household)
    • 64. Households by Disposable Income
    • 65. Age of head of household by income
    • 66. Median income by age of head of household
    • 67. Vacant Dwellings
    • 68. Tenure
    • 69. Length of Residence
    • 70. Total Vehicles Available
    • 71. Households by number of vehicles available
    • 72. Households by number of vehicles available and tenure
  • Consumer Expenditure Variables
    Total Expenditure
    Food and Beverages
    Household Operations
    Household Furnishings/Equipment
    Health Care
    Personal Care
    Tobacco Products
    Miscellaneous Expenses
    Cash Contributions
    Personal Insurance
  • 73. Other reports
    Consumer Expenditure Detail
    Business Summary Report
    MOSAIC Cluster Distributions
    Retail Potential
  • 74. Jane creates unique reports.
    First, she sets her geography to Metro Cincinnati and downloads business, demographic, expenditure, retail potential summary reports.
    Then, she selects several local counties and downloads ranking reports based on income and consumer expenditure.
    Then, she chooses 3 locations and downloads comparison reports for a 15 minutes drive-time.
    Examines market segments using MOSAIC and identifies her key target group.