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I encourage you to take a moment and read the following article (access via Business Source Premier) "The Five Competitve Forces that Shape Strategy" by Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business Review, January 2008, pp 79-93. By understanding the basics in this article, you are prepared to create your own competitive analysis outline.
Library Reference Sources
There are reference print sources available to those who need to conduct competitive analysis whether for an industry, company or product. Typically, when researching a company or an industry, it begins with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and comparing industry or business ratios is an excellent way to compare performance:
Almanac of Business and Industry Financial Ratios (MCOB Reference HF 5681.R25 T68)
From the U.S. Government Census, this source can be used to search economic data down to the zip code level in some cases.
Competitive Analysis Databases
There are several databases that will provide information on a company's competitors.
Business Insights: Essentials
This database is helpful in both company and industry research. By selecting the option to search by company, you will often find a SWOT Analysis which will contain very useful information including competitor information.
Business Source Complete
This database has a user-friendly interface to gather information on companies. Select "More" from the far right and from the resulting drop-down box, then key in your company name. Select the DataMonitor report if available as this report will contain the company's competition as well as other key information needed in your research.
Database of news, business and legal research. For educational activities only.
Company information from Moody's Manuals and Fact Sheets.