To understand a company and its competitors, you need to understand the industry of which it is a part, even if you are looking for information about a niche industry.
Finding information about an industry includes the following steps:
To locate professional associations and other types of organizations, you can also search the Gale Directory Library available through the USC Libraries E-Resources. This database contains the Encyclopedia of Associations (under "Organizations") as well as other reference works.
Many resources use the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes that were developed to track data on American industries. The codes were updated with a new system called NAICS: North American Industry Classification System, which includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico. However, many resources continue to use SIC codes as well. Public websites for SIC and/or NAICS codes are listed below.
The following databases have financial norms and ratios by industry. Links to the databases can be found under USC Industry Information or Financial Information Databases in the left hand column
See the Business Library Industry Reference Books below for Reference materials
Professional associations can be very helpful in learning more about an industry or profession. Although full access is often reserved for paid members, associations often provide information to the public in the form of summary reports and press releases. Examples of professional associations include Advertising Professionals of Los Angeles, the American Society of Cinematographers, the American Medical Association and the California Solar Energy Industries Association to name just a few.
Follow the steps below to locate a professional association.
1. Go to the Business Insights Essentials database
2. Select the "Advanced Search" option
3. Under "Keyword", select one of the various "Associations" options (Description works best)
4. Try searching for a word that is found in the industry description or in the name of the association. Also, you may wish to specify "USA" in the "Country" field or you will be searching for international associations as well. Try different combinations of search terms and keywords to find the association you need (e.g.: beverage, drink, coffee, wine).
These public sites can help find professional conferences and conventions for a wide range of industries: