Confidential: Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly--and Protect Your Own

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9780066619842: Confidential: Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly--and Protect Your Own

Whether you know it or not, your business competes in an environment in which many Fortune 500 companies are recruiting ex--CIA officers--specialists with training in elicitation, intelligence collection and analysis, and counterintelligence. It is a world where small businesses are becoming increasingly more sophisticated at digging up information about their competitors--and are using it to beat the big players at their own game.

Welcome to the era of Business Intelligence, where staying one move ahead of the competition requires uncovering their secrets and using them to your advantage.

In Confidential, John Nolan, a former federal intelligence officer and a preeminent expert in the field of Business Intelligence, reveals how your company can gather the intelligence it needs to beat the competition, while keeping your own valuable secrets under wraps. Providing the basics of Business Intelligence, including such invaluable techniques as data elicitation and sourcing as well as higher-level intelligence gathering and counterintelligence tactics for more sophisticated corporate policy makers, Confidential reveals:

How a well-planned conversation can be your most valuable information gathering tool

Who will most likely tell you what you want to know--and who is supposedly unsusceptible

How to discover the people who know what you need to know, both inside your company and outside, inside your industry, and beyond

How studying your customers and the leaders and decision-makers in their industries can enhance your competitive intelligence in significant ways

Why trade shows present an unparalleled opportunity for intelligence--what to look for, how to obtain it

Which countermeasures will ensure that neither you nor your employees become the unwitting sources of leaks

How to translate information into action that will directly affect your company's profits

Whether you're looking to find out the design and price of a competitor's upcoming product line, or uncover the dangers of entering a new market, this comprehensive, practical handbook offers effective strategies that anyone from senior-level executives to middle managers can utilize to protect themselves and outwit the competition.

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Review:

People say the darnedest things. They tell you how much money they make, how well their company did in the last quarter, what it'll take to undercut their latest bid on a government project or to undermine their marketing efforts. All you have to do is ask.

John Nolan, a 22-year veteran of international espionage who is currently involved in corporate intelligence-gathering, shows you how to ask, what to ask, when to ask, and whom to ask. The methods can be as simple as deliberately making a misstatement--"The toothpaste division sure missed its projections this quarter"--and getting someone who knows better to correct you, in the process supplying you with the information you want about his company's inner workings. Or they can be as complicated as patiently and doggedly piecing together tiny scraps of information from a number of sources. Whichever you resort to, Nolan shows a conversational method for ensuring that the person dispensing the information doesn't even remember he or she gave it out. No, it's not hypnotism; it's starting and ending a conversation with generalities, and discussing specifics only in the middle, the part of a chat that most people won't recall.

Confidential could be useful to anyone who needs information about a rival, or who needs to protect his or her own company's secrets. Nolan illustrates his points with examples from business (how Johnson & Johnson gathered intelligence that protected its Tylenol franchise from a rival product) as well as fiction (Appendix A is dedicated to the techniques used by Sherlock Holmes to elicit information). The result is an entertaining book that may take your business to a more intelligent level. --Lou Schuler

About the Author:

John Nolan, founder of Phoenix Consulting Group, a Business Intelligence solutions firm, spent twenty-two years in intelligence collection and counterintelligence special operations in the United States, Asia, and Europe. He is well-known in the mainstream business community for his development of integrated solutions to industrial and economic espionage, trade secrets, and other information issues. He is frequently featured in national and international media such as Forbes, George, and CNN.

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