Locating accurate business information on the Internet can help you stay on top of trends, uncover job opportunities, find great companies to invest in, and get a leg up on your competitors. The business world is a community complete with its own language and special vocabulary. When you use standard search engines, it can take you a long time to pinpoint a good source for the information that you need. Instead, you could use Business.com's search engine to browse through important business industries like construction and manufacturing or you can also identify potential suppliers at ThomasNet, the largest directory of U.S. manufacturing companies.

If you are conducting a job search, identify the top employers in your industry. The federal government groups businesses, regardless of their size, into categories, each of which has a special code referred to as NAICS code. The North American Industry Classification System is a useful resource for finding out more about specific industries and companies.

Staying aware of an industry’s health is important and can be done by tracking business statistics. The Library of Congress publishes the Entrepreneur's Reference Guide to Small Business Information, which provides a lot of helpful numbers related to industry health. Use the guide's links to identify potential business clients or businesses that may buy your products. You can also check your potential business customers' credit ratings at Dun & Bradstreet.

For the latest developments that can affect your career or industry, read Fortune and Businessweek magazines. These magazines always have the latest trustworthy information about business, finance, and investing topics.

Visit company histories and the directory of corporate archives to get an overview of the key developments that have shaped today's major companies. Hoovers is the premier source for business snapshots, and the EDGAR database of company reports can reveal a business's strengths and weaknesses. Before you buy or sell stock in any industry, review the company's performance and industry ranking at Big Charts or Morningstar.

About the Author

Written by Michael Marcin of Crest Capital. When Mike was little, there was no such thing as the internet (or color TV). Today, he oversees all operations and finance for Crest Capital, a national equipment finance lender. Mike writes on a variety of business topics including equipment, vehicle, and software finance and associated tax implications.