Guide to researching a business concept in the children’s retail or services sector

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My friends in the Ohio University Business Cluster are working to create a business concept in an industry sector targeted to children, and assess the feasibility of the concept.  The scope of the project dictates that the business concept be targeted to the child/youth market (0 to 14 year-olds) and fall within the retail, entertainment services, or facilities sectors. The purpose of this guide is to point business researchers to some key resources when researching information about their industry, target customers, competitors,  and the local market. I have listed the databases and resources below, with recommendations on how to find the best information in the quickest fashion.

Note:  This post is a work in progress and will be updated.

Chad’s research advice

A well-researched feasibility analysis will incorporate information from a majority of the tools below. Some of the databases will be easier to use than others, and researchers are bound to pick a favorite tool to use more than the rest. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to use SimplyMap*, Bizminer*, and Mediamark* when attempting to understand the consumer market and industry in a specific market. Please note that SimplyMap has a maximum of 10 simultaneous users and Mediamark has 20, so you may need to get up earlier, stay up later, and not procrastinate.

1. Find industry information to help define your concept

When you first get started, you’ll want to gather an understanding about the broader industry and market. The resources in this section provide a broad overview of the natural and health foods retail industry and market.


  • IbisWorld has a number of industry reports that fall within the scope of the business concept.

First Research

  • First Research has industry analyses that fall within the scope of the project.
  • You can also do the same search and find the same content in Hoover’s Online

Business Source Complete

  • Business Source Complete contains articles from major business journals and magazines.  To avoid being overwhelmed with search results, limit the search to Trade Publications.


  • Statista is a great place to look for a variety of statistics on children, toys, retail, and more.


  • Privco is a database of larger private companies.
  • For this project, you might use Privco to identify companies (business concepts) in your particular industry of interest.
  • Use the advanced search feature to filter by industry and location

Business Plans Handbook

  • Business Plans Handbook contains actual business plans
  • You might want to search it to help you with ideas for your concept.
  • When you arrive at the Handbook, use the “Search the series” box to search by topic.


2. Gather a deeper understanding about you customer

After you get a good idea about the larger industry, you’ll want to research the consumers in your market. Market research reports, data, and statistics found in the resources below are an excellent place to start.

Passport GMID

  • Passport GMID has market research reports on the on a variety of topics of relevance to this market.

Mintel Oxygen

  • When using Mintel Oxygen for this project, find numerous market research reports that contain a wealth of information.
  • Also look in the Lifestyles category for relevant reports about marketing to specific group.

MRI Mediamark Reporter*

  • Mediamark Reporter provides excellent demographic statistics on consumer products and services.


3. Analyze your local market to determine market size

After you research the consumer market for the industry, you will want to adapt that data down to the local level. The resources below can help you find information about your local market to combine with national consumer market trends.

Census QuickFacts

  • Census QuickFacts provides easy access to some of the most-used economic and social statistics.
  • The QuickFacts are an easier way to get to census information than American Factfinder.
  • You will want to use census data to compare how your local market demographics align with the more general national demographics of a consumer market (like what you find in MediaMark, Mintel, and Passport,above).


  • SimplyMap can help you understand how many people in your market area use a particular product or service.
  • It’s also an easy way to gather demographics about your local market.
  • See this guide for help citing SimplyMap.


4. Get to know your competitors or peers in your market/industry

You’ll want to identify who the competition is in your local market.  The resources below can help.

Mergent Intellect*



Hoover’s Online

  • You can also use Hoover’s Online to fine a list of companies and potential competitors in the local market.
  • Because Hoover’s indexes companies in a slightly different way than LexisNexis, it’s a good idea to run the same search in both databases.

5. Cite your sources

When you get ready to cite your sources, take a look at the Citing in APA article. Some business databases can be more difficult to cite than traditional resources such as books and journals. In most cases, just try to provide as much information and be as consistent as possible.

Related Topics: Business Cluster, Industry Guides