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MGT 590: Entrepreneurship II - Live Business Plan Experience: Home

Guide to resources for the MGT 590 course featuring a live business plan experience

Other Business Guides

Business Library Guides
Browse the other library guides on specific business topics to find additional information sources and research advice.

Company/Industry Research Flowcharts
Refer to these flowcharts for a visual overview of the research process with links to the basic recommended sources.


This guide shows information sources that can be used to research the current business environment and potential future strategies for an enterprise. The material has been divided into categories based on the type of information needed. Select the appropriate category to begin your research:

The resources highlighted here are mostly taken from the full list of business and economic databases provided by the ASU Library which can be consulted for additional resources for this and other projects.

Citation tools and help with using the library are available under these sections:

  • Citing Sources
    Reference sources describing and demonstrating how to cite different types of materials in APA style.
  • Library Tutorials
    Tutorials on citing sources, finding articles, and using RefWorks for managing citations.

Company and Competitor Profiles

Quick summaries or profiles on companies are found in business directories and company financial databases like these. Be aware that less information will be available for private companies with even less for the smaller ones.

  • Mergent Intellect
    Combines the Hoover's company profiles and the D&B directory of companies worldwide in one searchable database. Also pulls company news from First Read and links to industry research from First Research.

  • Mint Global
    Covers public and private companies globally. Financials are available for the larger private companies in some countries outside the U.S.. Includes company and industry research reports from MarketLine and others.

  • Reference USA
    Provided by the State Library for Arizona residents, this is an online directory of U.S. businesses often found in public libraries. It is comparable to Mergent Intellect but not global in its coverage.

Competitors can be identified by following the competitors link from the target company's entry if there is one, or by searching for the industry by keyword or industry classification code (SIC or NAICS) in the databases above.

Some companies' products or services may represent too small a niche within an industry classification to find its competitors readily through an industry search. One way around this is to search for the product or service keywords in the business description field of the company entries. Another is to use a specialized directory that allows product or service searching, such as:

  • ThomasNet
    Identifies U.S. and Canadian companies that sell products and services to manufacturers.

News Articles

News articles can help fill out skimpy information on a company, industry, or subindustry. Business article databases will search a wide range of sources at the national and international level. However, for articles on small, local companies the best sources are the local newspaper and business periodicals.

  • ABI/Inform
    Aggregates articles from thousands of English-language publications worldwide covering business, management, and related areas.

  • Arizona Republic
    Searches articles taken from all sections of the Arizona Republic newspaper.

  • Phoenix Business Journal
    Provides full text access to the Phoenix Business Journal online for local and statewide business news.

Industry and Market Information

Before searching the sources below, consult SIC & NAICS classifications to identify the code used to search a desired industry in directories, statistical data, and article indexes.

There are a number of sources for this type of information with different coverage characteristics as indicated below.

Broad Industry Coverage:

  • First Research
    Provides industry reports for most SIC classifications. Reports include the related industry news feed from First Read.
  • Industries search in Business Insights: Global
    Offers industry reports from the Gale industry encyclopedias.

Specialized Industry Coverage:

  • Mintel Academic Reports
    Covers consumer product and services industries mostly in the U.S.. The analysis emphasizes consumer preferences.
  • Passport from Euromonitor
    Provides global coverage of the consumer product and services industries.
  • SBRnet: Sports Business Research Network
    Collects data and reports on the sports, sportswear, and sports equipment industries.

Use industry ratios and averages to develop financials for the business plan. See Understanding Financial Ratios for Small Business for an explanation of how to use ratios for this. The examples shown are from the print versions of the online sources listed below.

To augment the data found in industry reports or to find data to generate your own report if a prepackaged one is not found, here are some basic sources of statistics to consult.

Associations are also potentially a good source of industry news, data, and directories. If you are having difficulty identifying associations related to your industry, try searching this database.

Regulations and Legislation

For industries that are affected by federal or state regulations and legislation, there are some useful databases that make it easier to track current regulations and statutes as well as the bills under consideration.

  • ProQuest Congressional Publications
    Tracks federal bills, past and present. Includes congressional hearings and committee meetings showing the intent of the legislation and amendments made along the way. Also contains the federal statutes and federal regulations promulgated over time. Useful to research the history of the passage of a law, current bills under consideration, and newly passed legislation not yet reflected in published resources. 

  • LexisNexis State Capital 
    Tracks bills in state legislatures and contains the state statutes and regulations. Useful to research the history of the passage of a law, current bills under consideration, and newly passed legislation not yet reflected in published resources.

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