This section provides you with the sources that allow you to:
Be sure to search for articles about the companies you are researching. The "Databases for Articles" tab in this guide provides links to subscription based databases that you should use for any type of company.
When doing company research one should determine whether a company is public, private, or a subsidiary. You should use a database like Mergent Intellect to make this determination. If you are doing research on a local level where there are many small businesses, use a database like ReferenceUSA to make the determination. Additional databases that can help in this process are listed below.
If you have established that a company is public, you will be able to find many sources that provide financial summaries, as well as links to their 10-Ks. 10-Ks are the annual reports that U.S. public companies must submit to the Securities Exchange Commission. The sources in this section will help you do this. Another good source for the 10-Ks is the company's website. These reports are usually located in the "Investor Relations" section of the website. Some companies also provide digital copies of the Annual reports to stockholders in addition to the 10-Ks.
These sources will help you identify competitors. They will also help you determine whether the competitor is public, private, or a subsidiary.
ReferenceUSA is a strong source for identifying competitors on a local level as well as helping you to determine the type of company.
Google Maps can also help you identify competitors on a local level.
If you have identified a company as a subsidiary, be sure to identify who the parent is. Then use the databases in the "Identify Type of Company" section to determine whether the parent company is public, private, or a subsidiary.
You will not be able to find detailed financials for subsidiary or private companies (unless the subsidiary happens to be trading separately from the parent). A database like ReferenceUSA will provide estimated sales figures for these types of companies.
Most companies also have websites, so you should comb through them for information.
Use the databases listed in the Articles section of this guide to find out if anything has been written about these companies in magazines, trade periodicals, or newspapers.