Definition: The process of gathering actionable information on your business’s competitive environment
Competitive intelligence essentially means understanding and
learning what’s happening in the world outside your business so you
can be as competitive as possible. It means learning as much as
possible–as soon as possible–about your industry in general, your
competitors, or even your county’s particular zoning rules. In
short, it empowers you to anticipate and face challenges head
One of best websites for gathering competitive intelligence is
Online, which, for a fee, provides in-depth profiles of more
than 18,000 public and private companies. However, there is also
free content available. You can research competitors, track stock
market performance, and keep tabs on IPOs.
Other good sites include:
Bradstreet, which provides information on companies relevant to
your business through a searchable database of companies in the
United States and around the world for a fee.
which has a pay-as-you-go option, called DialogSelect, that allows
you to search through 50,000 objective and respected publications
and documents online and pay for each article or report on a
Fuld & Co.’s internet Intelligence Index, which
allows users to gather information from a wide variety of public
services for free. It contains links to more than 600
intelligence-related internet sites, covering everything from
macroeconomic data to individual patent and stock quote
reports on bankruptcies, liens, judgments and such against
individuals and businesses. Some reports are free; others require a
Multex Investor site, which offers access to research reports
produced by financial research firms. Some reports are free, but
most require a fee.
Register, which provides listings of thousands of companies in
a variety of industries for free.
Finance, which has everything from up-to-the-minute market
summaries to stock research to financial news, and much of it’s
Usenet groups for a particular industry can also be a great
source of information. To find these groups, check out http://groups.google.com.
Also, don’t forget to regularly check the national newswires and
the press release newswires–PRNewswire.com and Businesswire.com.
Also, regularly check the sites of your local chamber of commerce,
Better Business Bureau, federal and state government, trade
association, and trade magazines and newspapers.
Finally, make sure to consistently check the websites of your
major competitors, suppliers and clients.