Thursday, April 28, 2016

Finding SWOTs

SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. These are great reports that discuss competition, product development, regulation (important to drug companies among others) and the macroeconomic picture that might affect a company.

Recommended databases:

Business Source Complete – from the main page, scroll down and choose SWOT analyses on the right side and search your company

Marketline Advantage - Type in your company name, get results and then select SWOT on the right side of the screen.

ABI Inform (keyword search your company and the word SWOT)

Down in The Weeds: Researching Commodity Like Products in SIC/NAICS

So you are researching  a product that's almost a commodity. That is, the technology has been around, anybody can make it, and it's not patented. In addition the kind of machines used to manufacture this product could be used to make other kinds of products. So if you search SIC or NAICS for all the companies that make your product, you're likely to get a result of zero to only a handful of companies. How could that be?  

Think alarm clocks, key chains, or even a more sophisticated product like a tachometer. Because I got this question about researching all the companies that make tachometers. I found the official codes for tachometer manufacturing and received almost no responses.

Here is what I think has happened.  Due to the ubiquity of manufacturing equipment and the ease of manufacturing tachometers, there are few companies completely devoted to making tachometers.  Depending on economies of scale, vertical integration, and other factors, you'll find that almost no companies are exclusively devoted to manufacturing commonplace products. So very few companies would only make tachometers and get listed under that SIC/NAICS code (Yes, they should get listed, but the very often don't) . Of course this raises questions about the accuracy and usefulness of these codes, but the question is for another time.

So here's what you do.  Do a keyword search for your product.  You're hoping that it catches your word in the company description abstract. You might get a few false positives, but it's a good method.

When confronted with this problem, you probably need to approach in a different way.  Forget about who is already making your product.  The bottom line is almost anybody can.  You're looking to make it at a lower cost or differentiate yourself. 

In the screen capture below, almost any company with that code could make thousands of different products.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

San Marcos (or anywhere else) on American Factfnder

U.S. Census Breakdown on San Marcos demographic and economic information

This page starts you off with demographics, but there's tons of economic data on the left side of the screen. I think it's the single best source of information for this kind of information.

Of course, you can change your county, city, zip code and more geographic parameters to search for other locations.