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How does your performance compare with industry norms?

Benchmark Report. Free benchmark reports comparing the financial strength of your company with your industry peers. Free industry newsletters. Each Benchmark Report presents...

  • A snapshot of your company's financial health in 14 categories
  • A valid comparison with companies of similar size in the same SIC code
  • A "what if" report detailing how improvements will impact your bottom line
Primarily for manufacturers and reports are available for a limited number of SIC codes within manufacturing.

Fortune magazine online. Industry performance benchmarks for Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies. Data for dozens of industry categories include median changes in profits and revenues and median sales per employee. Individual company data also available. Fortune subscription required, available online at low introductory rate.

CorpTech. Data on more than 50,000 companies in high-tech manufacturing, development, and services-everything from lasers to computers, and from biotech products to advanced materials. CorpTech maintains detailed information on each public and private technology company, updated and verified annually, including company name and address, ownership, annual sales and employees, multiple key executives, company description, and product details in 3,000 high-tech categories. Search by company name or ticker symbol and view a CorpTech Capsule on that company. Search entire database by 20 different criteria. Free membership is required. Extended company profiles available for a fee.

CFO Magazine. Dozens of online calculators and other tools, including benchmarking scorecards for your company or thousands of public companies. Scorecards are continually refreshed with the latest numbers from company 10-Qs and 10-Ks:

  • CFO PeerMetrix Interactive Cost Management Scorecard
  • CFO PeerMetrix Interactive Working Capital Scorecard
  • CFO PeerMetrix Interactive Optimal Cash Scorecard

The Benchmarking Exchange. Benchmarks and best-practice reports on a wide range of topics such as customer satisfaction, supplier management, and strategic planning. Measure your company based on National Quality Award Models such as Baldrige, to determine where your organization fits among others in similar and dissimilar industries. Trial membership is $35.

American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The ACSI is a uniform and independent measure of household consumption experience. A powerful economic indicator, the ACSI tracks trends in customer satisfaction and provides valuable benchmarking insights into the consumer economy. Scores and commentaries are free.

Hoover's, Inc., a subsidiary of D&B. Company, industry, and market intelligence, continuously updated. Information on public and private companies worldwide. Company and industry snapshots are free. For more data and in-depth searches, subscriptions start at about $50 per month.

BizMiner. For-fee industry-analysis and marketing-research reports. The "Free Stuff" page includes marketing research tips from the Marketing Research Edge newsletter (no registration required), as well as selected industry and area rankings for key business vitality measures. Industry and Area Top Rankings Lists and Major Industry Business Risk Index require free registration.

Damodaran Online. Corporate finance, valuation and investment-management topics, including cost of capital by sector based on database of 7440 firms at

Tools and resources to help you craft your strategy

Planware. Free and for-fee planning tools and white papers. Featured tools include:

  • Develop business strategy
  • Devise venture strategies
  • Compile strategic plan
  • See planning surveys
  • Prepare online projections
  • View sample plan
  • Get business ideas
  • Write business plan
  • Get planning insights
  • Prepare financial projections
  • Plan to plan
  • Business plan guide
  • Financial Planner
  • Expert Planner
  • Strategy Planner
  • Idea Assessor
  • Marketing Planner
  • Free Planners

Institute for Forecasting Education. Links, research tools, useful tips, other information, and articles, including "Len's 10 Forecasting Tips."

Forecasting Principles. Free site that "seeks to summarize all useful knowledge about forecasting so that it can be used by researchers, practitioners, and educators." Guidelines, prescription, rules, conditions, action statements, and advice about what to do in given situations. The principles apply to:

  • management
  • operations research
  • social sciences

Strategy & Business. One-year subscription (four quarterly issues) starts at about $30. Free to site visitors: online articles, such as:

  • The Myth of Customer Satisfaction
  • Is Your Company Over-Allianced?
  • Why Open Source Stifles Innovation
  • External Branding's Internal Impact

Business Resource Software. MBA-level technical training and knowledge base of proven business principles in a software system has been built into this expert software system. Strategy Insight asks 60 questions about your product and industry. It weighs your answers against its knowledge base and evaluates your market position, measures your potential for success, identifies problems, and tests alternatives. Use Strategy Insight to establish the potential for new market or product ideas.

JAXWORKS. Making available to the small-business owner foundation tools of the 5 top U.S. business consulting firms. Free downloads, including accounting and forecasting worksheets, sales records, activity ratios, balance sheets, breakeven analyses, direct-marketing analysis, financial-health checkup, and much more.

Strategy Dynamics. For-fee software tools and books for modeling company strategy. A few free conference presentations available on the site.

CorVu. Software to implement a Balanced Scorecard process. CorVu products include:

  • Business Performance Management: Improve business performance by integrating and automating the management processes of strategy development, budgeting, business modeling, planning, performance monitoring, reporting and analysis, and scorecarding. CorVu can automate your Balanced Scorecard, as well as Six Sigma, EVA, Total Quality Managment (TQM & EFQM), ISO 9000, and Baldridge National Quality Program systems.
  • Business Intelligence: Including end-user OLAP analysis, interactive reporting, database queries, executive dashboards, KPI alerts, and what-if analysis.
  • Balanced Scorecard (CorStrategy.Scorecard): Scorecard automation to align valuable resources with strategy.
  • E-Report Publishing (CorPortfolio): An online enterprise information portfolio that enables executives to quickly review reports, analyses, and business commentary from virtually any data source, collating them into an electronic portfolio.

Balanced Scorecard Collaborative. Professional-services firm that facilitates the worldwide awareness, use, enhancement, and integrity of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) as a value-added management process. For-fee products and services. Free site content includes multimedia BSC introduction and monthly "netconferences."

Scenarios, Foresight and Change: A University of Arizona online course on methods and approaches for studying the future. Start with the "Tutorial on Building Scenarios."

Plausible Futures Newsletter-News and Analysis for Future Studies & Scenario Planning. Free online newsletter and copious links to other future-studies resources and articles.

Work smarter not harder

Innovation Network. Try the free "innovation audit" and check out the best-practices research.

TRIZ Journal. TRIZ is a Russian acronym for Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, which was pioneered by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the former USSR starting in 1946. Free online monthly journal with archive going back to November 1996.

Innovation Tools. Products and services for sale, but also lots of free articles and tutorials on mind-mapping, enterprise innovation, success strategies, and more.

Creativity at Work Newsletter. Overviews of new research in creativity and innovation, best practices of leading organizations, links to new or relevant Web sites, and ideas and techniques from innovation experts. Free, published monthly via e-mail.

Agile Brain: Journal of Business Innovation. Dozens of articles, interviews, and book reviews on creative innovation, competitive intelligence, knowledge management, and much more.

Creativity Web. A treasure trove of creativity tools and techniques, including:

  • 10 Creativity Kick Starts
  • Random Input
  • Problem Reversal
  • Lateral Thinking
  • Six Thinking Hats
  • The Discontinuity Principle
  • Checklists
  • Brainstorming
  • Morphological Analysis
  • Imitation
  • Mindmapping
  • Storyboarding
  • Synectics
  • Metaphorical Thinking
  • NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Techniques
  • Assumption Smashing
  • DO IT! method of Roger Olsen
  • LARC Method
  • Unconscious Problem Solving
  • Simplex
  • The TRIZ method of Semyon D. Savransky
  • Fuzzy Thinking
  • Breakthrough Thinking - The seven steps of uniqueness, purpose, solution after next, systems, needed information collection, people design, and betterment timeline.

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Strategy Quote Of The Day

"Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential."

- Sir Winston Churchill

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