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. See the "Corporate Affiliations" tab of this guide.
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. See the "Company Profiles & Financials" tab of this guide.
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.
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. See the "Find Articles" tab of this guide.
Public companies are required to file periodic financial statements with the SEC. These filings are 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. See the "Company Profiles & Financials" tab of this guide.
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. See the "Industry Research" tab of this guide.