Surfing the Web in search of relevant information can be a formidable task.
By the time you weed out the sites that don't offer the information your company needs, you realize the time would have been better spent placing a phone call to your accountant or banker. But, there are many Web sites on the Net that do offer information you can sink your teeth into.
Here are a few of SBN's picks culled from SBN Columbus Associate Editor Joan Slattery Wall's "Must-see Web sites" features over the past year and a couple new ones you just have to visit:
The Internal Revenue Service's Digital Daily Site Tree
Answers to your tax questions are at the tip of your cursor. Choose "Business Taxpayer Info" and select "Tax Event Calendar," for example, to see what's due and when each month.
There's also state-specific information. At "Frequently Asked Questions," choose "Employer Tax Information" for details about W-2 and W-4 forms and employee reporting, or click on "Types of Income" to find out about severance pay, tips, dividends and retirement. The "Tax Info for Business Section" provides links for small business and tax professionals, employee plans and other items.
The site also allows you to download IRS forms and publications as well as instructions for them.
The Business Center
Provided by Firstar bank, The Business Center offers categories including marketing, management, finance and sales.
In the finance section, click on any one of a number of archived articles to help you run your business. Among the articles offered, "Stop playing the cash juggling game! Smart budgeting strategies for your business" and "How to get the most out of your business's excess cash."
Ohio Angels.com was designed as a portal site where investors can go and anonymously learn about investing in various industries, technologies and companies.
Investors begin with a free portal page that qualifies them and gives them an ongoing stream of information about private investing, entrepreneurship, events in their community and relevant emerging businesses and technologies. They also have access to unidentified business plan summaries that match their interests.
Entrepreneurs aren't left out in the cold. They can register for a free portal page that includes information and an eight-week period to build a business plan abstract -- with how-tos from OhioAngels.com. They can then submit that plan, with a $100 fee, for possible acceptance by investors.
Ever wonder whether your company's salaries are competitive in the marketplace? This Web site will tell you not only if you're competitive locally, nationally or internationally, but also the reasons why. Enter the position you're checking on, your business' state and city, then use the pull-down menu to find the position to benchmark.
If you're not sure how that salary level compares to various cost-of-living estimates, SalariesReview.com offers that information as well. It provides a comprehensive cost of living index for the U.S., Canada and a host of other countries. The site works well for determining how to price your work staff as you consider expansion into foreign markets.