BA 260: Business Plans Guide

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How can this guide help me?
This guide will help you find information on businesses, industries, and consumers, both through library databases and free web resources.
  • Check out the databases and books on this page for help writing business plans and understanding legal and ethical issues.
  • For examples of SWOT analyses, financial statements, and industry/competitor information, go to the next tab.
  • For market research, go to this tab.
  • For information about private, local businesses and local consumer lifestyles, go to the local information tab.

Search many LBCC Library databases simultaneuosly

Library databases: General business information
Library resources can help you learn how to start a business, write a business plan, and understand legal and ethical issues in business.
Gale Business: Entrepreneurship
Gale Business: Entrepreneurship covers all aspects of starting and operating a business, including accounting, finance, human resources, management, marketing, tax, and more.
Legal Information Reference Center
In the Legal Information Reference Center, try seaching for terms like "intellectual property" or permits. You can also read specific publications like the Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business.
License & Credits
Finding NAICS Codes for Your Industry
Industry information can help you identify trends and competitors, and understand the resources that are needed to operate a certain kind of business. Finding the NAICS code for your business allows you to search for industry information more efficiently and accurately.
Researching an Industry? Use an Industry Code!
License & Credits
LBCC Library Databases: Company & Industry Information
We will be using the following databases from the LBCC Library to find public company and industry information (competitors, financial information, management/organization), as well as examples of SWOT analyses. See the videos on this page for help searching these databases. If you're looking for information about private, local businesses, check out the Local Information tab.
Business Insights: Global
Business Source Premier
Business Insights: Global
Finding SWOT Analyses in Business Source Premier
Government Data on the Web


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Government Data on the Web
Handout explaining how to use the Census Business Builder
License & Credits
Consumer Trends & Digital Marketing on the Web


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Consumer Trends & Digital Marketing on the Web
Searching Census Data
Local Information
The Census, on the Market Research tab, has lots of information available at the city level. It's much harder to find local information that the Census doesn't collect. Also, private companies are not required to file information (called 10Ks) with the federal government like big public companies are. Reference Solutions is one of the few resources to find at least some local, private company information, as well as (imperfect) data about consumer lifestyles at a very local level. Local and regional newspapers can also be a good source of information about local businesses and consumers.
Library News Databases (sometimes good info on local orgs)

Find articles about your company and its competitors in regional and local news sources. This may be your best bet for external analysis if you're working with a private company!

The following local papers are available full text for the time period indicated: The Oregonian, 1987 - present; Corvallis Gazette-Times,1999-present; Albany Democrat-Herald, 1999-present

Includes full text coverage from several hundred U.S. and International newspapers as well as regional business publications.
newspapers, computer, coffee on a table

License & Credits

Creative Commons License This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Image attribution: Edfallere, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Common.

Reference Solutions (your best bet for small business info)
Access Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA) through the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

As an LBCC student, you have access to Corvallis-Benton County Public Library's (CBCPL) electronic resources. To use these, you must first have a card from CBCPL. Sign up for a CBCPL e-card using your LBCC email.

An important business resource from Corvallis Public is Reference Solutions, which is one of the best sources for information on very small, local, private companies. To get here (once you have your library card), look under the Business & Finance section of CBCPL's E-resources and click the Reference Solutions link. Use the number on your CBCPL card to log in.

Find Local Company Information through Reference Solutions

Once you're logged in, click on the search button for US Businesses. Enter a company name and a city to find the owner, contact information, SIC/NAICS industry codes, expenditures, sales, and more. 

Under Location Information, you can enter a number of miles in Radius Search, and then click on Find Similar to see nearby businesses in the same industry.
Learn more about the US Businesses database.

Research Consumer Segments in Reference Solutions
When you're logged into Reference Solutions, go to U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles, and then go to Advanced Search. 
Use the facets on the side (I suggest starting with the city you're interested in) to limit to your target demographics. 
Click "View Results." This shows you all the people identified who meet the criteria of your search (it's not comprehensive). 
You can go to Summary and identify further facets (age, income, marital status, etc.) you want to compare within your segment. View matrix, chart, or table to analyze the data.
Learn more about the US Consumers/Lifestyles Database