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ATLS 4000/4010: Research Methods and Professional Practice Capstone: Business and Entrepreneurship Research

Business Research, News, and Reports

Part of precedent research for your capstone topic might involve learning more about the market (or audience) for your design solution, an industry, or other companies who are related to the landscape your design is part of.  Business research is different from research you are doing in other subject areas, so there are some tips to help you get started below. Many databases are not as intuitive to use, so give yourself more time to learn and search. If you get stuck, please ask for help

Business Research, News, and Reports

Market research reports contain industry information, demographic data, and an analysis of a market. It helps you answer the question: Who are your customers, or audience?  If you customers are individual people, use market research reports to find segmentation, consumer preferences, and buying patterns. If your customers are businesses, use an industry report to find the size of the market, market drivers, and geographic concentration.

Industry reports provide general information about the industry and industry operations:

  • Major companies/key players
  • Suppliers and resources
  • Regulations which impact the industry and its suppliers
  • Performance benchmarks
  • Emerging trends and issues

Industry Classification:
Businesses are classified into specific industries. These industries have classification codes, which can help 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).

  • NAICS: North American Industry Classification System
  • SIC: Standard Industrial Classification

If you have trouble finding the right industry classification code, you can always look for a similar/competing company in a database such as Reference USA and find the codes there.

Target Industry:
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.

Databases are important​ for company research

  • Much information is not free and available on Google (especially for private companies).
  • Therefore, CU pays for students to have access to databases with this restricted (and expensive!) information.
  • Databases package information from different sources in one place, which saves you time.
  • Many databases allow you to create custom reports and export data as spreadsheets, which also saves you time.

Private company research is different than public company research

Public companies:

  • are required to file certain information with the federal government, such as 10Ks,
  • publish annual reports for investors, which you may be able to find on their website,
  • have a unique ticker symbol that make them easier to locate.

Get started with research on public companies:

Private companies...

  • aren't required to file yearly reports with the government or shareholders,
  • are harder to find information on, and the information you do find is probably self-reported,
  • may not have a ticker symbol.

Get started with research on private companies:

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