Information is the lifeblood of business. The Internet enables smaller firms to compete with larger ones and large ones to diversify. Business resources on the Web are plentiful. You can find company profiles, trade data, business news, corporate tax and legal advice, management strategies, small business information, executives' biographical data, financial reports, and much more. The Web's free resources are a good starting point, but the most detailed information and sophisticated analyses are available through fee-based companies.
Savvy business researchers often use a collection of different tools to get the information they need, including the Web, fee-based databases, CD-roms, and print resources. One of the interesting trends for most businesses has been an acceptance that the Web is a useful tool. Some industries have reluctantly resisted change, but most business people have quickly taken to technology. Four years ago, realtors were fearful of the new technologies and resisted. Then some began to use it. Now, with online 360-degree video views of homes, realtors no longer have to do labor-intensive introductory walkthroughs. It has revolutionized their business.
Now, most professional businessmen and women demand and have web access to information tools at their desktop. Many are also pushing for wireless access to information tools. The result is more and better information available on the "open" Web, but to be thorough and exhaustive in business, you must use a combination of free and fee-based tools.
Company research is a good starting point for business. In addition, you can often find out about businesses by looking at what they say about themselves on their websites, through their press releases and of course, through what their competitors say about them. Then it is always a good idea to look at what they tell their regulators. In the U.S., that means the Securities and Exchange Commission or another federal government agency.
Industry and trade associations are good resources for information mostly found on websites or purchased. There is an abundance of this kind of information in the United States, not as much in the rest of the world. Many U.S. companies analyze trade sectors worldwide, so information can often be found about non-U.S. companies using U.S. resources.
U.S. information is plentiful for several reasons. Market research reports can be purchased and where there is money involved, there is usually a company or an industry trying to capitalize on it. You can use that to your advantage. Also, with nearly every aspect of business, there is usually an academic resource that studies that field or has developed an expertise in that field.
There are a number of reasons to background a company. Information about a company's hiring practices and material can help you prepare for an interview, a sales call, or provide the background material needed to evaluate potential vendors, suppliers, or takeover targets. A basic overview, for example, might include:
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Note: This article was sent to us by: Kyle Sawyer at 09052010
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