Resources for Building Business Plans

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					Resources for
Building Business
Christine Drew
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Gordon Library
 Help  Self-Help Guides  Business Plan Resources
• Business plan components & samples
• Resources to help you get to know your:
  –   Industry & Product
  –   Customers
  –   Numbers
  –   Financing options
• Questions
Business Plan Components - Writing a Business Plan -

Business Plan Preparation - Tools for Writing Business Plans - How to Build a Business Plan

Inc. Magazine - Writing a Business Plan

United States Small Business Administration – Write A Business Plan
Business Plans: Sources & Samples
Business Plans and Profiles Index
@ Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
 Get to Know Your Industry & Product

• How big is your industry?
• Who are your
• What are your product's
  strengths and
  differentiating factors?
     Your Piece of the Industry Pie
Search for articles: > All Databases > Industry

Industry Analysis: Free Size & Data Sources
• Bureau of Labor Statistics | International Labour Organization
• Census Economic Indicators | Global Economic Indicators
• County Business Patterns - businesses by industry to zip code
• Statistical Agencies (International)
• Economic Census 2002 - industry sales, size, establishments
• Federal Reserve of Boston - New England Indicators Database
  Your Turn: Find Industry Data
                   your turn …
                  take a minute

• Find your own industry in one of the industry sources
                    Competitive Analysis

Download useful spreadsheets such as this one @ and
use web & library database searches to fill in the blanks
       Web Search? A Great Start but..
Lots of industry data is not on the free web. Check
the library’s web site for business, company and
industry databases.

Searching for articles > All Databases > Company
  - EBSCOhost Business Source
  - LexisNexis Academic
  - Wall Street Journal

                                                   Kirstein Business
Also, local public libraries may have additional   Branch
   sources. MA residents may get a free BPL        20 City Hall Avenue
                                                   Boston, Massachusetts 02108
   ecard at                               617-523-0860
                                                   Monday to Thursday 8-5, Friday &
                                                   Saturday 9-5
          Search Library Databases

• Connect to  All Databases & Electronic
  Resources  Industry
 Enter industry keyword & topics to find articles
your Industry

                                Industry Reports
       Your Turn: Find Articles
                 your turn …
                take a minute

• Try a search in EBSCOhost Business Source
Find related
associations for
             Identify Trade Associations

•   Web search with keyword association
•   Gateway to Associations
•   Reference book: Gale Encyclopedia of Business and Professional
       Research Companies/Products

                    • Industry and/or location specific directories
                    • Vertical market web sites or portals
                    • Trade journals buyers’ guides &
                      associations member lists/buyers’ guides
                    • Market research firms that specialize in
                      your area
                    • Patents for competitors and product
                    • Specialty stores or catalogs

where & who would
     BUY it?
The Right Terms & The Right Tool
Typing in the keyword “competitors” and your
  product or industry just won’t work

   • Search Hoovers, other company directories
   • Use SIC/NAICS codes or “build a list” in Hoovers to find
     similar companies
   • Check 10-K (EDGAR or Hoovers) for competitor section of a
     peer company that may be publicly traded (Use Ctrl-F to find
     word competition)
   • Track down specific directories of companies: print or online
       – XXX Industry Directory
   • Track down member directory of industry association:
       – Member list XXX Industry Association
   • Search or visit sites where this type of product would be sold
     with a competitive matrix chart in hand
      Identify Trade Journals @ WPI
• Association sites may list some key trade publications
• Check the Library Journal Holdings

              > Library Journal
                       search to find any that we subscribe
                       to already

   – Will lead you to news, magazine and journal titles
   – Visit the library reference area for a more detailed directory:
     Ulrich’s Periodical Directory Z6941 U5
   – Find the website of a trade magazine, some post articles for free
 Most academic libraries have this reference book.
        Look up industry to find key resources

Sample entry
  from Encyclopedia of
  Business Information Sources
        Get to Know Your Customers
• Who is your target market?
• How many potential customers
  could you have?
• What are the dynamics of
  adoption of similar products?
                                  Sometimes you will have to
                                  collect your own data but first
                                  try to search the web and
                                  databases. Add to your search:
                                  ("CONSUMERS' preferences"
                                  OR "consumer behavior" OR
                                  "CONSUMERS Attitudes" OR
                                  Surveys OR polls)
           Consumer Behavior & Potential
  • Search Trade Magazines & Journal databases - articles on
    preferences & profiles
       – Consumer Reports
       – Keywords: consumers, customers, target market, preferences, buying
         behavior, consumer behavior

  • Use Library’s Data sources to find numbers, and statistics to

   Sample table from
  Statistical Abstract of
     the United States
             Get to Know the Numbers
Search Trade Magazines & Journal databases to:
    – Understand how much similar products sell for
    – Benchmark industry standards (average manufacturing costs or profit
    – Assess costs and pricing options

Use Thomson ONE Banker, LexisNexis Academic, or SEC Edgar for
  10-K filings to:
    – find similar public companies to benchmark their financials:

Use industry ratios to benchmark against industry averages:
        • Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios
          Reference Collection HF5681 R25 T68

        • RMA Annual Statement Studies
          Reference Collection HF5681 B2 R6
Financials: Industry Ratios/Peer Groups

            Definition of Ratios(PDF)
            Sample Financial Ratio Benchmarks(PDF)
            Listing of industries in the Annual Statement Studies®
            sorted by NAICS(PDF)
                 Financing Options
• How are start ups

 “Data from the National Survey of
 Small Business Finances indicate
 that most small businesses used
 traditional credit such as credit lines,
 loans, or capital leases and that most
 of the increases were in credit lines
 and credit cards.”
 The Small Business Economy
Visit Harvard's Venture Capital & Private Equity Club
 and read: Zider, Bob. How Venture Capital Works.
Harvard Business Review Nov/Dec98, 76(6): 131+.
            (look for copy @ your library)
                     Protect Your Ideas
                     Trademarks & Patents
United States Patent &
Trademark Office

• TESS (Trademark
Electronic Search
System) database

• U.S. Patents via

  Also try Google Patents which allows
  hyperlinked cited patents & images in PDF
  format. For global, try
• Learn about federal,
  state, local
  requirements and

  Mass.Gov - Official
  Site of the
  Commonwealth of
  Massachusetts 
  Business  Getting

Christine Drew
Stop by Gordon Library @ WPI for research help
See for email, chat or to set up a research consultation