What Can You Find With a NAICS Code?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Once you know your primary NAICS code, you’re on your way to finding lots of useful information about your industry, competitors and customers. Let’s start with a simple search in Google using part or all of your NAICS code. For example, say you operate a resale clothing store. From the NAICS website, you’ve identified your primary NAICS code as 453310, which falls under Used Merchandise Stores.

Let’s head over to Google and plug in your code along with the keyword “report” to see what pops up. The first two results lead to the same source, so it’s probably worth checking out the Industry Statistics Sampler on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website:

The description suggests you’ll find a lot of information for this industry, and you will. Unfortunately, too much of it can be a bit outdated and of little value in projecting the future. Look for more recent data within a Zip code or county related to employment, revenue and number of businesses, which could be either a potential customer or competitor.

One of the resources listed on the Industry Statistics Sampler is the Quarterly Workforce Indicators. You can drill down to a county and choose the most relevant three-digit detailed industry to find employment data through 2011 and then download it into a PDF report. You can include up to eight indicators, such as growth in employment and average monthly earnings, but make sure you check the box for the indicators you want included in the final report.

If you’re a retailer, check out the Monthly Retail Trade Report. You’ll see a link that allows you to download a spreadsheet that includes Retail and Food Service Sales from January 2012 to the most recent month reported, which in this case is September 2012. Once you download the report, scroll down till you find your NAICS code.

Updated monthly reports are released about 45 days after the end of the month. At the bottom of the Monthly Retail Trade Report , you’ll also see links to reports for the Latest Quarterly E-Commerce Report, which can be downloaded as a PDF document.

What about identifying the types of businesses located within a county or Zip code. Well, the most recent is 2010, but by using County Business Patterns, you can drill down to the six-digit NAICS code and find the number of businesses by employment size. Want to find out who owns these companies? Try a free search on Manta.com. You can drill down to the city level and search for a specific type of business.

Notice in the above Google search, the third listing is for an Industry report from HighBeam Business. Although recent data is limited in these reports, they do provide an excellent background of the industry.

Thinking this is a bit too much work for information that may appear to have limited usefulness? Using subscription databases that provide current information, we do the research for you at no charge. As a client of the Navarro College SBDC, research is just one of the free services you’ll receive. What does it cost to be a client? Nothing, so if you live in Ellis, Freestone, Limestone or Navarro County or either operate an existing business or are thinking of starting one in these counties, contact us.

Next post, we’ll look at a free online library with lots of current and historical information that you can access from your home or office.