Understanding the various sources of information and how to access them can help companies and their leaders stay on top of emerging trends and environmental factors that can affect their success.
Business Information Sources Business Information Sources Business information comes in general surveys, data, articles, books, references, search-engines, and internal records that a business can use to guide its planning, operations, and the evaluation of its activities.
Such information also comes from friends, customers, associates, and vendors. Published sources may be daily newspapers; financial, trade, and association magazines; databases, government statistics, directories, technical manuals, and much else.
In effect, since "information" is defined more by context than by content, business information is whatever information helps a business know its environment. Writing in his book Business Information: Lavin commented that business information is of tremendous value in problem solving and strategic planning: Information is critical in keeping tabs on the competition by watching new product developments, shifts in market share, individual company performance, and overall industry trends.
Intelligence helps managers anticipate legal and political changes, and monitor economic conditions in the United States and abroad.
In short, intelligence can provide answers to two key business questions: How am I doing? Print Information The category of print covers not only a vast array of books and periodicals, but also includes microfilm and microfiche, newsletters, and other subcategories.
State and federal government reports also fit into this category; indeed, Lavin described the U.
Government Printing Office as "the largest publisher in the free world; its products can be purchased by mail, telephone or through GPO bookstores in major cities. Certainly business owners have a wide array of book titles to choose from, many of which find their way onto the shelves of public, business, and university libraries every year.
In addition to books that provide general reference information on human resources management, start-up financing, product development, establishing a home-based business, and a plethora of other topics of interest to small business owners, the publishing industry has seen a surge of books that tackle more philosophical issues, such as balancing work and family life, establishing healthy personal interactions with co-workers and employees, the nature of entrepreneurial activity, and many others.
Many other small business owners, meanwhile, get a considerable amount of their business information from print sources. As with books, entrepreneurs and established business owners as well as corporate executives, human resource managers, and nearly every other category of person involved in business can turn to a variety of periodical sources, each with its own target niche.
Some magazines and newspapers, such as Business Week and Wall Street Journal, provide general interest coverage, while others Forbes, Fortune provide more of an emphasis on subjects of interest to investors and executives in large firms. Still others--most notably Inc. Chamber of Commerce --publish information specifically targeted at small business owners.
These magazines can provide entrepreneurs with helpful information on every aspect of operations, from creating a good business plan to determining which computer system is most appropriate for your enterprise.
Then there are the trade journals, an enormous subsection of print aimed at very select audiences. These trade journals, which typically provide narrow coverage of specific industries journals targeted at owners of bakeries, amusement parks, real estate businesses, grocery stores, and a variety of other businesses can all be foundoften contain valuable industry-specific information.
Finally, both government agencies and educational institutions publish a wide variety of pamphlets, brochures, and newsletters on a range of issues of interest to small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs. While government brochures and reports have long been a favored source of business information--in some measure because many of these documents are available free of charge--consultants indicate that valuable studies and reports compiled by educational institutions are often underutilized by large and small companies alike.
Television and Radio Media This source of business information is perhaps the least helpful of the various external sources available to small business owners.
Programs devoted to general investment strategies and the changing fortunes of large companies can be found, of course, but the broad-based nature of broadcasting makes it difficult, if not impossible, to launch programs aimed at narrow niche audiences like dental instrument manufacturers or accounting firms, for example.
Online Information As we advance into the first decade of the 21st century, the ever-greater speed and scope of the Internet is beginning to turn the Web into the most powerful source of information for the small business. With appropriate subscription services like InfoTrac, even access to print sources is easier to achieve than actually searching newspapers or trade magazines.
Search skills, of course, must be developed, but the small business owner can practice this art in the evenings when libraries and bookstores are closed. Many of these databases offer information pertinent to the activities of business owners.
As Ying Xu and Ken Ryan observed in Business Forum, the Internet includes data on demographics and markets, economics and business, finance and banking, international trade, foreign statistics, economic trends, investment information, and government regulations and laws.
This information is provided by Internet news groups, online versions of newspapers and magazines, and trade associations.Primary and Secondary Sources Examples from Business Enter Search Words Search.
Primary and Secondary Sources: Examples from Business. This guide will explain what primary and secondary sources are and how to find them. Home Business.
Scholarly study of entrepreneurs activities and behaviors. 7 Popular Sources for Company Information and Research by Sarah Schmidt, on September 22, Industry executives, consultants, and sales professionals often need accurate, up-to-date information about a company for a variety of business and competitive intelligence goals, such as.
Sources of information. Businesses need to know what is happening out in the world of consumers and competitors.
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Businesses need information to be successful, and that information can come from a variety of sources, both internal and external. Understanding the various sources of information and how to.
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