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Industry and Competitor Research

Starting your own business means understanding the industry and knowing who your competition is. Lakeland Library has many resources, available both in print and electronically, to help you research this information. One such resource is the NexisUni database.

The information on this page is designed to guide you through the process of researching a particular industry and compiling a list of local competitors using the NexisUni database.

Resources Needed for this Exercise

PART A: NAICS Code Lookup

The first thing you will need to find is the NAICS code for the industry of your proposed business. You can find this information by doing a search at

  1. On the NAICS web site, there are two points to access the search:
    • Find Your NAICS Code at the top right    OR
    • NAICS Code Search in the center
  2. Use the NAICS & SIC Identification Tools function to lookup your NAICS code. Type a keyword related to your industry and hit Enter to search.
  3. From the search results, find the NAICS Title that most closely corresponds to your business/industry.
  4. (Optional) You can also check your code against a major competitor by searching Google for: your competitor AND “naics code.”

PART B: NexisUni Competitor List

You can use NexisUni database to create a list of competitors.

  1. To access Library databases, log into myLakeland and click on the library icon.
  2. Scroll down below FiSH in the middle column to find General Databases. Locate the icon for NexisUni and click on it.
  3. Once you’re in NexisUni, click Menu at the top left corner, and then click Company Dossier.
  4. On the next page, click Create a Company List from the left side menu.
  5. Fill in only the pertinent information needed for your list:
    • NAICS code
    • Regions/Countries (edit “All Countries” to “United States”)
    • State (select Ohio)
    • Either Cities OR Postal Codes (use commas between cities)
  6. After entering your information, click Create.
  7. The first 10 results will be displayed (or fewer if there are less than 10 competitors within the search parameters). Click Customize at the bottom to view the complete list.
  8. There is no need to edit any of the default attributes that will appear on your company list. Just skip to the bottom and click Update.
  9. You may opt to include only certain companies in your final list. First, de-select all companies by clicking the box next to Company Name (all companies are automatically selected). Then, select the companies you would like to keep in your list by clicking the box next to each company you wish to keep.

PART C: Save and Email List

Now that you have a complete list of competitors, you are ready to save the file.

  1. At the top of the list, click Download.
  2. Select a file format and click to download the file. If using a library Chromebook, you will need to select “CSV formatted file,” and then save the file to your Google drive.
  3. If not using a library Chromebook, you can select either file type, then save the file to the desktop by opening the file, clicking save file, and selecting desktop as the location. Log in to your email and send the file as an attachment to your own email address.

PART D (Optional): Searching for Businesses with Google Maps

If you need additional information about local competitor businesses, you can use Google Maps to search.

  1. Go to and type keywords into the search box. Google recommends the following example search strategies to find local business information:
    • Search for specific businesses: Starbucks
    • Search for types of places: coffee near central park
    • Narrow your results by using the city and state: groceries in Atlanta, GA
    • Narrow your results by using a zip code: gas in 94131
    • Find an intersection: 23rd and mission
    • Search by address, city, state, country, or airport: 1600 Amphitheater Parkway Mountain View CA; LAX; Los Angeles Airport; or Mount Everest, Nepal
  2.  After performing a search, you can save your results by copying and pasting the link to the results page in an email to yourself.

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