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What is an SIC Code?

An SIC Code (from the government's "Standard Industrial Classification system",) is a number assigned by the US Department of Labor to every industry and function in the economy. The Lead Generator uses SIC Codes to represent your company's Products & Services, as well as its Needs, in the database so that they are easy to match with other users' Products & Services and Needs, as shown below.

That is, if you enter your Products & Services in SIC Code form, and another user enters his company's Needs in SIC Code form, it is very easy for the system to match them up - and therefore for you to identify him as a potential customer. (Likewise, it makes it easy for him to identify you as a potential vendor.) As you can guess, if the system were to rely on free-text matching (which is what search engines do,) it greatly increases the risk that you won't find each other - to the point of being useless, as most people have experienced when trying to find business on the Internet. This is usually because of misspellings, different terminology, and imprecision. But by using SIC Codes the Lead Generator standardizes things just enough so that vendors can find prospects (or people with a need can find potential vendors,) quickly, easily and inexpensively.

As most commonly used by the government (i.e. for gathering and reporting statistics like GDP and employment), the official SIC Code system has around 800 4-digit codes that represent broad categories of products and services. For example, "2051" is the SIC Code for bakeries, "3312" is the SIC Code for Steel Manufacturers, and "0782" is the SIC Code for Landscapers. No matter what you make, sell or do, there is at least one 4-digit SIC Code to describe it - at least at a high level. Likewise, no matter what product or service you need, even government services and non-profits, there is at least one 4-digit SIC Code to represent it.

The structure of the SIC Code system allows users of the system to differentiate between manufacturers, wholesales/distributors, and retailers too, so each company's role in the value chain can be appropriately reflected. For example, "3429" is the SIC Code for furniture manufacturers, "5021" is the SIC Code for furniture wholesalers, and "5712" is the SIC Code for furniture retailers. Even furniture repair companies have their own SIC Code ("7641"). But don't worry, you don't have to memorize them, and there won't be a test!

So that its users can be very precise about what they do (and what they need,) the Lead Generator has expanded on the government's SIC Code system, using up to 8 digits and 13,500 codes. The entire list can be viewed here. As you can see, it is very detailed - but don't let that scare you. The key, when you're trying to figure out what you should put into the database about your company, is to take your time, and use the tools provided by the system to be accurate in what you post so that other users can find you when they need to, and not find you when they don't need to.

That is, putting in the right SIC Codes to represent your Products & Services will enable potential customers to find your company when they have a need for one of your products or services. And putting in the right SIC Codes to represent your Needs will enable potential vendors to propose solutions only to problems that you actually have.

On the other hand, putting in random SIC Codes, or inappropriate SIC Codes, for either your Products & Services or for your Needs, will only annoy people, and make them think you are unprofessional. So it's a good idea to be accurate and complete with your entries.

Note, though, that there is a lot of help available on the individual screens for posting or searching using SIC Codes. But if you have trouble, feel free to contact Customer Service for help. After all, your success is our success!


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