Sandra's Prospect Research Blog

Monday, October 31, 2005

Business References

Today’s discovery is a useful site called Reference for Business. It includes four databases: the International Directory of Business Biographies; the Encyclopedia of Small Business; a collection of Business Plans; and the Encyclopedia of American Industries.

Probably the most useful to a prospect researcher is the International Directory of Business Biographies, which includes relatively detailed biographies of business leaders all over
the world, organized alphabetically. Most start with a directory-style listing of birthdate, educational information, and career history, then move on to a longer prose article that goes into greater detail and places the individual in the context of corporate history, plus links to additiona lsources, and often, a photograph. The inclusion of individuals at companies across Europe and Asia makes this a particularly useful source.

The Encyclopedia of Small Business lists business terms alphabetically with brief definitions; most connect to a longer article that provides a more thorough understandng of the term. Use The Encyclopedia of American Industries to find SIC and NAICS codes for different industries, as well as industry snapshots, background and development, trends and industry leaders. This is helpful when you need a larger context to judge a company’s position and potential. The fourth database, a collection of sample Business Plans, is at first glance the least useful to researchers, and is poorly organized; also, the search function does not appear to work in this database. But if you’re looking for an understanding of how a particula r type of business is organized—the different expenses and sources of income faced by a record label or a travel agency, for example—these sample plans provide an impressive level of detail.

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