Business Plan Resource Support
Section I: The Industry
A business firm can be assigned or classified to an industry based on the firm's products or services. The focus in this section is to determine what is happening in the industry and the relative attractiveness of the industry among international, national and state economies.
The first industry code was based on the Standard Industrial Classification Manual, referred to as the SIC Manual. The most current manual was published in 1987. The SIC classification system is being replaced by the NAICS, North American Industrial Classification Systems, Manual. Both manuals are from the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget. Determining the classification of your product or service is important for tracking the industry in various resources.
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Current NAICS Classification System via the U.S. Census Bureau's web site.
North American Industry Classification System, United States (2007)
Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search
Search available through the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) web site.
1997 & 2002 NAICS and 1987 SIC Correspondence Tables
Web site of the U.S. Census that allows user to match NAICS code to its corresponding SIC code or vice versa.
Standard and Poor's Industry Surveys
Currently, available only in print, Standard and Poor’s Industry Surveys provide some of the best coverage available for industries.
Look for a report of the industry either by NAICS classification or by typing in the name of the industry. Over 700 reports for a variety of industries are available.
Mergent Industry Review
Currently, available only in print, Mergent’s Industry Reviews contains comparative financial statistics on 3,000 public companies arranged in 137 industry groups.
Value Line Investment Survey
Currently, available only in print, Value Line is a loose leaf publication that includes articles about 1600 publicly held companies and their corresponding industries.
Yahoo! Industry Center
Provides a free directory of industries, along with a list of the companies in each industry, the latest industry-related news, and performance data on the top companies in an industry.
Small Business Resource Center
A fee based site providing information on the business organization and structure of industries, current industry trends, and other information. May be free through university library subscription.
Trade and Professional Association Directories
Directories provide access to the Web site addresses of trade associations in all fields. The trade associations can be contacted to obtain information on specific industries.
Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios (Troy's)
Features IRS data on 4.7 million U.S. corporations. Ten years worth of historical financial ratio data.
Dunn and Bradstreet industry norms and key business ratios
Fourteen financial ratios plus common size/ percentage financial statements for over 800 industry classifications. Ratios are based on over one million financial statements.
RMA annual statement studies
Collection of ratios detailing financial statement information from over 150,000 statements of commercial bank borrowers and prospects. Contains 5 years of historical data.
Financial Studies of the Small Business
Ratios of 70 business categories for over 3,000 small private companies earning less than $1M. Useful for industries that have few or no public companies.
EDGAR Database of Corporate Information
Performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Its primary purpose is to increase the efficiency and fairness of the securities market.
See also the 10K Wizard, a search engine for SEC Filings.
Industry Week Magazine
Publishes articles about various facets of industries primarily on manufacturing sector.
This is a fee-based site that sells comprehensive industry profiles on more than 700 industry sectors.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information provided includes a description of the industry, working conditions, employment, occupations in the industry, earnings and benefits, employee outlook, and lists of organizations that can provide additional information.
This is a fee-based site that provides mock income statements, balance sheets, and key financial ratios for firms in over 900 industries. Five-year reports include cost-of-sales, officer compensation, employee benefits, advertising, rent and other expense items in both dollars and percentage of sales. Available in 13 sales size ranges from under $250,000 to $500 million or more. Data is based in surveys of both public and private firms.
Alacra Industry Spotlights
This wiki-style site offers a robust list of information sources from over 65 industries. For most industries the information includes links to top publications, trade associations, and key industry web sites.
Good resources for looking at business activity, including the number of competitors, at a city, county or state level. For example, you can find the number of dry cleaners (or any other business) in a specific zip code or city.
Provides near instant access to financial data, including income statements, balance sheets and cash flows, on more than 10,000 U.S. public corporations. Free for students if accessed from the University of Florida Business Library website.
Deatiled reports available on hundreds of industries, including industry statistics, trends, buyer behavior and expected returns. Fee based if not available through university library.
A very quick way to access census bureau data, including population, median household income, census breakdowns by age and other demographic characteristics.
Standard and Poor’s NetAdvantage
Detailed reports available on hundreds of industries, including industry statistics, trends, buyer behavior and expected returns. Fee based if not available through university library.