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Business Research: Startup Resources: Reference USA

a guide to library resources and online tools for writing a business plan and preparing a business startup

Accessing ReferenceUSA

ReferenceUSA business information database

ReferenceUSA is a provider of business and consumer research. ReferenceUSA helps users create marketing plans, conduct competitive analysis, raise funds, and locate people. The database includes 14 million businesses and 203 million customers.


ReferenceUSA is a subscription database which library card holders can access 24 hours a day at home through the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library website. You must login with your 14 digit library card number and PIN/password. If you do not have a card, visit one of our 12 library locations to apply for a card today!

Example of ReferenceUSA Records

List of employment agencies


[Screenshot from the ReferenceUSA database listing employment agencies in Huntsville.]

The above listings were created by narrowing a search by type of business and by zip code. By clicking on the company name, you can access a profile of the business including number of employees, sales, location, news, and competitors.

Need Help?

Below are two online tutorials for using the database. If you would like further instruction, contact the Reference Department with your questions or to schedule instruction.

Online Tutorial of ReferenceUSA

Learn how to find information about a specific business(es) in the ReferenceUSA database by searching by type of business and by location.

Video Producer: University of Texas at Austin

Video Length: 3:56 minutes

Business Demographics by City

Use ReferenceUSA to understand the Business Demographics of a city.

Video Length: 1:32 minutes

This and many other tutorial videos are available on YouTube by referencegroup.

Find Businesses by Street

ReferenceUSA can create lists in so many ways, we cannot list them all. But, below is a brief online tutorial about conducting a specific. What if you wanted to find all the businesses on a specific street or specific types of businesses on a specific street. For example, what if you wanted a list of all the restaurants on Memorial Parkway. ReferenceUSA can help you generate that list.

video length: 4:15 minutes (no sound, visuals only)

Subject Guide