7 Websites to Research for Making Good Business Decisions - dummies

7 Websites to Research for Making Good Business Decisions

By Stephen L. Nelson

No matter what people say about the government’s effect on business, U.S. Government agencies provide outstanding data for your small business research, brainstorming, and decision making. If you’re a small business that needs solid information, here are seven of the most valuable sites:

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) : This baby supplies all sorts of macro, big picture economic data. And note that the data is often granular enough to give you insights into the local economy, too.

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics: Not surprisingly, this site provides a bucketload of information related to labor economics. For example, need good data about what a particular job should pay? Hey, you don’t find better information than that available at this site.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau: The Census Bureau, as you may know, collects and provides demographic data about people and the economy of the United States. The Census Bureau website provides links to much of this data that the Census Bureau collects and disseminates. A super source of data about your potential customers or clients. Really, just superb.

  • EDGAR: The Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system (EDGAR) performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by public companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A great information source if you want to know what a business’s financial situation is—or what someone employed as an executive in a public company makes.

  • The Federal Reserve System: This governmental site provides information about the bank supervision and monetary policy setting activities of the Federal Reserve System. The website also (perhaps a bit randomly) tends to publish really interesting research into the finances of people and organizations.

  • The Government Printing Office: Relatively unknown, this government website is extremely valuable because it provides free downloadable copies of most federal government documents.

  • The Internal Revenue Service: Last but not least, the IRS’s website deserves mentioning. Although the website is tailored to consumers, not businesses, it is still incredibly useful to anybody in business. You can apply for employer identification numbers online, get free forms, and research small business tax questions.