October 27th saw me back in Wales running another business information workshop. This built on the session I ran in July (see Top Business Search Tips at http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2010/08/10/top-business-search-tips/). We looked at more advanced search techniques for business research with an emphasis on industry/market sectors and covering both official data, market research and what can be gleaned from social media. As usual I asked them to come up with a group Top 10 Tips at the end of the day. There were two tips that were common to both sessions: my own business sources listings (well, they were influenced slightly in that some of my pages were mentioned during the session) and StatsWales, which is the place to go for statistics if you are doing business in Wales. They were also at liberty to suggest sites and tips that I did not mention in the workshop but which they, their users and clients find useful.
1. British Library’s Business Essentials on the Web http://bl-business-essentials.wikispaces.com/
“Our wiki is a one-stop shop listings site of essential websites for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The aim of the site is to save you time trawling the web, by bringing together useful sites for small businesses in one place.”
Recommended for the Industries section that gives useful sites and starting points for SMEs and start-ups who may be researching industry sectors.
2. Business Information on the Internet (http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/) Business resources organised by type for example statistics, market research, company registers.
3. Slidefinder http://www.slidefinder.net/
Google’s filetype ppt search looks for your terms anywhere in a presentation. Slidefinder’s default search finds single slides that contain all of your terms. Two of the participants gave this one a thorough road test and were seriously impressed!
4. Repeat one or more of your search terms once, twice, thrice… to change what appears in your results page. Useful if you are fed up with the same old pages coming up again and again. You can enter up to 32 search terms in Google before Google starts dropping terms.
5. Filetype search. Use the Advanced Search file format or the filetype: command to focus your search on PDF (market/industry reports, government documents), XLS (for data and statistics in spreadsheets), PPT (expert presentations, conference talks or overviews on a topic from independent experts, academics, government bodies). If your file extension is not listed in the advanced search screen menu enter your search terms in the standard search box followed by command filetype: and the file extension. For example
wind turbines energy generation UK filetype:pptx
Use Docjax (http://www.docjax.com/) as a quick way of searching both Yahoo and Google for PDF, XLS, DOC and PPT files.
6. StatsWales http://statswales.wales.gov.uk/ The place to go for official statistics on Wales. “StatsWales is a free-to-use service that allows visitors to view, manipulate, create and download tables from the most detailed official data on Wales.” Email alerts and RSS feeds are available.
7. Getting British Business Online ( http://www.gbbo.co.uk/) A collaboration between Enterprise UK, Google, BT, and e-skills UK with the support of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This site provides a simple and quick way to for small business to create their first website. Recommended by several of the workshop participants in conjunction with…
8. Business IT Guides (http://wales.businessitguide.com/) E-business support from the Welsh Assembly.
9. Realise the importance of social networks. Yes, it is biased and it can be difficult or impossible to find out who is behind the rant and the extreme negative comments but a lot of people read and forward these to their followers or friends. What started out as an isolated complaint can snowball to a major hate campaign. Companies ignore social media at their peril. Get in there quick if a customer is making a lot of noise about a bad experience and turn it to your advantage.
10. Time! The internet, search engines, business resources and social media are ever changing. Try and find time to keep up to date and try out new “stuff”.