Business Research Checklist

A Starting Point for Researching Consumer and Industry Activity

This list includes a combination of reference sources available at the Main Library and on the Internet. Use these resources as a starting point for beginning your business research.

Factors that Affect the Business Research Process

Use the following guidelines for evaluating the kind and amount of information you will find.

In general, the larger the impact of the designated industry on the economy, the more information will be available. One way to determine the impact is to identify the number of businesses or number of people employed in the specified industry.

Is the business part of a larger industry grouping? For example, when researching a coffee shop business, the analysis may want to take into account the broader food and restaurant business, not just coffee shops.

Determine who studies the designated industry. If there are publicly held companies in the designated industry, then there will be a lot of coverage by industry analysts.

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Know Who Follows Your Industry

Industry and trade associations can provide membership lists, industry research, and other specialized information. To locate industry associations check:

American Society of Association Executives
Search the directory by keyword or name for more than 1700 national trade and industry associations on the Internet.
Trade Show Central
Includes links to seminars, conferences and trade shows.

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Consumer Demographic Information

These sources provide insight on where to locate a business and find potential customers. Knowledge of consumer profiles, household income and age distributions are essential if your business is to succeed.

Web site for Tucson & Pima County:

City of Tucson Planning Department
Specializes in local census data. Select Tucson Update for monthly updates on population, employment, and more.

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U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. Economic Census includes statistical overview of national retail, manufacturing and wholesale activity. County Business Patterns profiles all sectors of the U.S. economy every 5 years, from the national to the local level.

These provide a point of comparison to businesses in the same industry based on income statements and selected financial ratios:

Book at the library:

RMA Annual Statement Studies

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Pima County Website