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Business Canvas (Entrepreneurship) Course Guide

Use this guide to find information and research tools to explore topics related to entrepreneurship.

ReferenceSolutions Database

  • up-to-date business and consumer data. 
  • jobs by skills, location, and industryReference Solutions Logo
  • business opportunities
  • national companies 
  • business executives
  • historical market trends
  • addresses and phone numbers
  • news articles 

ReferenceSolutions and Business Research

  • organizational structures
  • target markets
  • industry and growth potential
  • analysis of competition

Example: Using Reference Solutions - Local Business

Sample Business: Mainstream Boutique (Onalaska)

A good place to start to research a market is with the company's website. Mainstream Boutique's website provides good clues about their market segment in general or nationally.
This information can be found on their Home Page - Our Story. Take note of the clues you find on business's homepage. Look for "About" or "Mission" or any keyword or phrase that will describe the purpose and goals of the business. For Mainstream Boutique, I see "family" as a target market for both franchisees and customers. 
Keyword "family" used frequently on Mainstream Boutique "Our Story"  web page
This is a good starting point for researching the Onalaska location. Start by linking to their Facebook page and Instagram. Look at posts, videos, and reels. The website and social media provide anecdotal information. 
For data-based information you can use the database ReferenceSolutions. I've attached some screenshots to show what steps to take to search the database to make decisions about your market segment based on the concept of "family" and the price point for Mainstream Boutique's clothing.
From Reference Solutions Home Page - choose Consumer Lifestyle Automobile Database
From Reference Solutions Home Page - choose Consumer Lifestyle Automobile Database
Next, select the Advanced Search tab
Select the Advanced Search tab
Next, choose the filters that will return the results you need to understand the market segment.
I based my choice of filters thinking about "family" and "price point" for Mainstrean Boutique in the Onalaska Metro Area:
Follow these steps -  one at a time - for each filter
  • choose one main filter (red arrow) in the left column
  • choose a subfilter (green arrow) 
  • UPDATE COUNT (orange arrow)

When you have completed the filter process click VIEW RESULTS

diagram of chosen beneath text about filters


On the next screen, click the Matrix Tab then choose from drop down boxes -  Children Present and Income - and check Choose Output Rows/Columns.

Follow these steps -  one at a time - for each filter - choose one main filter, in the left column. choose a subfilter then choose UPDATE COUNT 

Use the data in the chart below to figure out your likely customer segment. Think about is mostly likely to be able to afford purchasing clothing at Mainstream Boutique. 
Screenshot of Data summary chart

Market Information Research - RAB Instant Background Database

RAB Instant Background

RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau) Instant Backgrounds provides marketing and demographic statistics from over 200 businesses and industries, with more being added each year.

RAB collects background information and statistics about consumers, businesses, industries and markets from a variety of sources.  Try using this source to gather information for your business concept project. You will need to know:

  • Who you are selling to?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • The industry and growth potential for your business.

To access RAB Instant Backgrounds:

  1. Go to RAB Instant Backgrounds
  2. Log in with the Western Library account.
    user name:
    (not published) use the Live Chat or Ask-a-Librarian (below) to request the password
  3. Browse the dropdown list and select a relevant industry (see image below).

In the video below, Drew discusses how to use RAB Instant Backgrounds to access market information.

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