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Business information on the web


There is now a plethora of business information but no real concept of what constitutes business information. For an SME it is the rules and regulations and data required in the regular running of the company. For the international conglomerate it is competitor data and the latest news and business intelligence, while for many other companies it is financial data and the background to the customers and suppliers with whom the company deals.

The potential volume available has expanded with the development of the internet. Many of the search engines such as will successfully find any company correctly entered but will present so many possibilities for simple questions that the result is overwhelming. Searches must be very specific. Try ‘small business information’ on Google, Yahoo, Altavista etc. BUT be sure to indicate on the search screen that you require UK sites. For example, refers mainly to the USA.

Most search engines have their own business information section. Some separate that into finance, i.e. stock exchange data and other types of data including company information, for example ">. Newspapers are listed separately and all the major dailies, national and regional, now have their own sites. But the data is not the same as in the printed version.

Some sites which will help you find specific advice on aspects of running the company include: similarly offers practical data and guidance for start-ups with a chat forum for small businesses provides an updating service to the Interactive business assistant a CD with a very broad of useful data and programs for SMEs (see – the partners page under SFEDI gives special offers for members or call 0121 250 3593) is a portal also geared to SMEs mainly financed by Barclays and Freeserve is a relatively recent site developed by Sift plc for business communities in association with its AccountingWeb. supplied by the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies has many useful links developed a useful portal for SME information (under Resources) following the University of Strathclyde and British Library but it has not been updated

The Department of Trade and Industry has a number of sites which not only give guidance on official regulations but on other aspects of business and link to other sites. is a starting point with SME support clearly highlighted. Separate advice, from the DTI Small Business Service is at . which refers to their Business Link network to be contacted in person or on line at . is helpful. The Chambers have . Government sources are far wider than this - go to where there are links to most sites.

Specific small business sites will be found through the Federation of Small Businesses at complemented by others such as and the lively .

Small and large businesses need to check specific company information. Do this through and their reports through sites such as related to Dunn and Bradstreet the directory and information publisher. Remember that some of these reports can be regarded as Business intelligence and charges are often levied and many are only available on a subscription rather than a one-off basis. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Link, public library information service or similar who will undoubtedly have subscriptions to one of them. The Economist Intelligence Unit will lead to similar data at .

Never forget that an amazing number of sites offer links to other useful sites – from the Institute of Management Library Service, from the Institute of Directors are general. Those from specific professions range from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to the Institution of Engineering Designers at . Professional bodies can be located at .

When you are on the ISM website don’t forget to use the other resources of the main Trainingzone site – they will lead you to many of these.

Access the very broadly based Free Pint portal which will help find sites for all topics – . Information professionals have developed many portals, including this one, used by a wide range of professionals. Look for business information sources in its Free pint newsletter – free to all – at the above site. Small business information sources were the topic of an article in Issue 74 there are hot links to some of the sites above if you read it online.

Why not let the Information Services Manager know of your favourite sites? And the topics you would like to see covered on this page.
Contact: [email protected]
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