Part of my marketing is to monitor lists of companies in business magazines (e.g., Inc, Forbes, Barron’s) to see which companies are growing and which ones are in trouble (we can advise either). Are there other types of lists that go a little deeper that can help me better understand industry trends but are not paid company research (which we are glad to pay for once we identify specific targets)?
General business magazines will provide general information like revenues, growth, number of employees, etc. For somewhat more detailed information, you can go to services like Hoovers, LexisNexis or D&B that collect deeper industry and company-specific data. For full details, as you say, find a business research firm, for which you will pay for services.
All these sources do provide current information but something you may be missing is lists that are not focused on just size and current year data. Lists generated for a segment of an industry, focusing on a nontraditional aspect of a discipline or that provide historical data can provide terrific insights.
Each of us benefits by creating a "list of lists" specific to our industry, consulting discipline and type of organizations to which we want to consult. Fortunately, both the culture and the technology of the Internet have created for a lot of people the willingness to compile and donate such lists and reference works. Wikipedia (In most cases) provides significant insight and currency on topics authored by experts). specialissues.com
has one such LoL (List of Lists). This resource has both of the criteria mentioned above, a different view than traditional lists and a lot of historical data. In some cases, "historical" here may mean outdated or with broken links, but you can easily find updated lists.Tip:
It is useful to build a library of references like these lists. Plan out a series of bookmarks and folders (or use the visual network tools referred to in yesterday's tip) to set up your own instant research library.© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA