To succeed in today’s business environment, you must know more about your own business than your competitors do. And, you must understand more about your clients’ businesses, than your clients do. So, how can you keep abreast of changes in your competitive business landscape?
The first challenge is identifying sources of competitive intelligence. Thankfully, the amount of business intelligence available on the internet continues to grow. However, you must be able to effectively channel this flow of information to avoid drowning in an ocean of data.
To help you harness the power of the internet, Justia has compiled a list of 60 essential free competitive intelligence resources. We’ll introduce you to new sources of actionable intelligence, as well as new twists on ways to use web sites with which you are already familiar.
- My Yahoo. My Yahoo heads this list because it offers a tremendous breadth of customized content with a clean interface. Furthermore, you can now place additional content modules into My Yahoo—beyond the default set provided—by taking advantage of RSS feeds, some of which we will discuss below. With customized stock quotes, business news and RSS feeds, there’s no reason why My Yahoo shouldn’t be your legal desktop.
- Google. Google your company, Google your competitors, or Google your clients. With over 8 billion web pages indexed, Google will likely provide you with some tasty morsel of information.
- Yahoo News. If you’re just skimming the headlines of Yahoo! News, you haven’t fully tapped into this essential resource. Yahoo News – RSS allows you to create custom news feeds based on search terms you’ve identified. You can then read these in an RSS reader or view them on My Yahoo!. Look at my Morrison Foerster news feed module on My Yahoo. This is an easy way to keep up with press coverage of your company, your clients or even your competitors.
- Google News. Google News doesn’t offer RSS feeds, but you can set-up a Google Alert, which is similar in concept to the e-mail-based Yahoo Alerts. Given a choice though, I much prefer updates by RSS feed instead of e-mail. Don’t like seeing too crowded an inbox.
Company Background Reports
The first four web sites are great starting points. Let’s now turn to specific data sets for more in-depth intelligence. The first category is company background reports, which includes corporate profiles and financial data. Here, a number of web sites provide this basic data for free.
- Yahoo! Finance For publicly-traded companies, Yahoo offers stock quotes, stock charts, news, company profiles, competitor data, industry data, analyst coverage information, ownership data and financial statements—all for free.
- Hoover’s Online Hoover’s provides company fact sheets, news and financials on selected companies for free. Hoover’s also offers additional business data, such as officers and employees, D&B reports and corporate family trees on a subscription basis.
- CNNMoney – Company Research CNNMoney offers stock quotes, stock charts, earnings estimates, insider trading data, SEC filings, financials and news. It also provides news feeds from CNN/Money, Dow Jones, press releases and Fortune.
- MSN Money Offers much of the same content as above in a less attractive interface.
- BNET – Company Updates RSS Feeds BNET features news updates for selected major companies.
- Yahoo – Company News via RSS Generates an URL for publicly-traded companies in the RSS format. My Yahoo already allows you to subscribe to company news as a default feature. This alternative lets you see the same content using an RSS news reader.
- Moreover Technologies – RSS News Feeds Moreover features news feeds by company.
11 down. 49 to go. Stay tuned for the next installment.