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*Getting Started with Business Research: Company Info

Are you looking for economic data? Market research? Articles from the business press? Use the tabs to access relevant resources.

Steps to Company Research

Identify and Profile the Company

First, you'll want information on the company and its line of business, history and leadership. Determine whether it is a public or private company and whether it is a parent or subsidiary.

Company profiles provide background information and often identify major competitors. Some sources may include analysis of a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats or other forecasts. 

Find Current News and Articles about the Company

Articles in the business press are likely to give you insights into a company's current operations, strategy, performance and competition. Article databases can be used to find articles from newspapers, magazines and journals that cover business topics.  There are also many publicly-available websites devoted to business news.

Examine the Company's Financial Filings and Market Performance

Public companies are required to file periodic financial statements with the SEC, which can be searched using EDGAR. These filings are also commonly available through the sources that provide company profiles. You can also find stock reports, which offer expert analysis of the likely performance of a public company's stock.

Survey the Industry and Competition

To fully understand a company, you will also want to understand the industry in which it operates. Industry profiles can help you to better understand the overall context of your company's operations, as well as its suppliers and competitors.

Visit the Company's Website

Companies often recognize the value of communicating directly with their customers and investors, and corporate websites can be an excellent source of information about a company's product or service, performance and vision. Publicly-traded companies are likely to include recent annual reports to stockholders. Be sure to evaluate all content on a company's own website carefully, as the potential for bias does exist.

Company Profiles & Financial Statements

Each of the following subscription (SLU-only) resources can be used to find company profiles and/or financial information.  Company profiles may include such information as corporate history, executive leadership, financial performance, market share, and more.

Market Share

Benchmarking

One way to assess a particular company's financial health is to compare its financial statement and ratios to an aggregate norm for the industry in which it operates.

Company Research Guide

Company research is complicated and only a sample of resources and research techniques are highlighted here. For additional tips, see the more detailed guide linked below.

Company Histories

While a company's own website will often include information about its history, you must evaluate whether the information is objective or biased.  Consider using these additional sources for historical background on a company.

Business Rankings

Domestic Company Directories