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.

Classification Codes id="classification-codes"

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.

Industry Overview id="industry-overview"

  • 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.
  • IBISWorld
    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.

Industry Financials id="industry-financials"

  • 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.

Internet Resources id="internet-resources"

  • Industry Week Magazine
    Publishes articles about various facets of industries primarily on manufacturing sector.
  • First Research
    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.
  • Hoovers Online
    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.
  • Mergent Online
    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.
  • Mintel
    Detailed reports available on hundreds of industries, including industry statistics, trends, buyer behavior and expected returns. Fee based if not available through university library.
  • U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts
    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.