Look at the growing number of electronic databases that provide voluminous quantities of competitive information. Some of these databases are free and available through public libraries; others are available at affordable costs.
Tap into the numerous websites for valuable information. Even smalltown newspapers are rich with information, such as a competitor’s minor activities making front-page headlines. Other sources include trade journals that provide financial and product information about competitors. And want ads in print and over the Internet offer clues to the types of personnel and skills being sought.
If your competitors are public corporations, refer to their easy-to-access and information-crammed annual reports. With great detail, they reveal financial data, product development plans, and markets they view for future growth.
As indicated earlier, speeches by senior executives of competing companies offer valuable insights into their firms’ future plans, industry trends, and strategies. At times it astonishes how much sensitive information is provided in speeches that are given at trade shows and professional meetings.