As you do your research, think broadly and creatively about where your target fits. Some industries are too new or too odd to fit into an established category. It also doesn't hurt to look at more than one industry.
Use industry profiles for a broad overview of the industry including the Five Forces
The Five Forces model was created by Michael E. Porter in 1979 to describe how competitive forces impact an industry. The five forces are threat of entry, bargaining power of buyers, threats of substitutes, bargaining power of suppliers, and industry rivalry.
Trade associations (also called trade groups, industry groups, business associations, etc.) are often the only place to find current statistics or trends for an industry. These associations often publish journals, newsletters, reports, etc. geared towards people in the industry and thus can be very useful for learning the vocabulary of an industry, the key players, and current issues or trends.
These databases are the best sources for trade publications:
Alternatively, you can also simply go to trade associations and see what content they have available for free. To find a trade association for your industry, Google your industry and the word "association." If you are having trouble getting access to free content don't buy it, ask us and we will try and get you a free copy.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. They are written for companies, so you will need a competitor name to find one, but they give information on both the overall industry and company.
An industry classification code can ensure relevant results since many databases allow you to use this code to search the contents. Two codes that are assigned to all US businesses are NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) and its precursor SIC (Standard Industrial Classification).
If you have trouble finding the right code, you can always look for a similar/competing company in a database such as Reference USA and find the codes there.