Growing on a Shoestring: A Business Information Guide for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs)

Article excerpt

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To reiterate

what appeared in Part 1 of this article ("What Everyone Needs," Searcher, March 2008), these days the web offers abundant access to low- and no-cost sources of business information.

The categories in this article reflect the way small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owners think about their businesses. It is intended to help information professionals provide resources for SMBs. Part 1 covered sources for information needed with some frequency by SMBs and some sources for information used on an as-needed basis. Part 2 will focus on subcategories that cover core areas in businesses.

Financial

BankRate.com http://www.bankrate.com

News, tips, and advice to compare mortgage rates, home equity loans, CDs, car loans, credit cards, and money-market accounts. Some information is provided daily, e.g., current rates for CDs to invest cash for a short period of time.

FakeCheck.org http://www.fakecheck.org

This site collects sources to help protect SMBs that take checks.

CNN Money http://money.cnn.com

General information on business and money is provided.

The Deal.com http://www.thedeal.com

"The Deal reports, analyzes and disseminates business and financial news that offers fresh insights on the deal economy, a set of interrelated activities, focused on deal making of all kinds, whose purpose is to generate corporate growth in a continually changing global market."

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CreditCards.com http://www.creditcards.com

Information on credit cards and how to compare rates and types of cards.

Credit Research Foundation http://www.crfonline.org

This organization has some resources for understanding credit and receivables.

SkyMinder http://www.skyminder.com/default.asp

A source for credit checks on companies the SMB might do business with. There is a fee here and SkyMinder has a "SkyCard" option that supports payments by individual transaction. This site also has market, industry, company, financial, news, and marketing info.

CFO.com http://www.cfo.com

A comprehensive resource for financial matters.

Forbes http://www.forbes.com

A leading site for financial matters.

Market Watch http://www.marketwatch.com

Focuses on financial markets.

Motley Fool http://www.fool.com

Overall resource for investing and financial markets. Provides some good educational material.

Seeking Alpha http://www.seekingalpha.com

A provider of stock market opinions and analysis from blogs, money managers, and investment newsletters.

Business Valuation http://valuationresources.com

A list of resources for valuing a business.

Biz Stats Financial Ratios http://www.bizstats.com

This site has free industry statistics and financial ratios.

Funding Sources

National Venture Capital Association http://www.nvca.org/index.html

"The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) is a trade association that represents the U.S. venture capital industry. It is a member-based organization, which consists of venture capital firms that manage pools of risk equity capital designated to be invested in high growth companies."

Center for Venture Research http://wsbe2.unh.edu/center-venture-research

The site allows for the SMB to understand venture capital and track sources of capital that the SMB can order for a nominal fee.

Harvard Business School http://library.hbs.edu/guides/venture

This site provide a list of resources for venture funding.

Inc. Magazine http://www.inc.com/articles/finance/index.html

Contains articles on finding capital.

The Funded http://www.thefunded.com

Provides information on venture capital firms plus commentary from members who discuss their experiences with some of the firms from which they have requested funding. …