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Look at historic trends. What's happening today and what are the future projections for the industry?
Look for company’s age, services or products, competitors within the industry as a whole, growth pattern, reputation, divisions and subsidiaries, company’s size, financial stability, number of locations and foreign operations, and any other information that is relevant to your values.
Is the company publicly owned?
Publicly-owned companies are required by law to make certain kind of information available to stockholders and, thus, to the public at large. You can determine if the company is publicly owned by using the Directory of Companies Required to File Reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission; by checking the stock price listings in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Barron's or a similar source; and by checking the Internet for any of the three major stock exchanges where public companies are traded. If the company is publicly owned, there are numerous sources of information available: Million Dollar Directory, Ward's Business Directory, Standard and Poor's Register of Corporations, Thomas Register of American Manufacturers and specialized single-industry directories.
Is the company privately owned?
Most national business directories will include both private and public companies, but usually only the largest of them. The Directory of Corporate Affiliations contains nearly 9,000 large, private firms with annual sales of more than $10 million, plus their subsidiaries and divisions. If the company is privately owned, you can use any of the directories listed for publicly owned companies, as well as the Directory of Corporate Affiliations volume that covers private firms. Other resources include periodicals and newspaper articles.
Is the company a subsidiary or a division?
This information my be difficult to find because the parent corporation is under no obligation to divulge data except on the company as a whole. Possible sources include Directory of Corporation Affiliations, America's Corporate Families, and Standard and Poor's Register of Corporations.
Is the company foreign-owned?
It may be difficult to find this information as laws requiring disclosure of corporate financial information will be different in foreign countries. Some sources include Directory of Foreign Manufacturers in the U.S., Directory of Corporate Affiliations and Who Owns Whom, North American Edition.
If the company is foreign owned, you may find additional information in the World Business Directory, Moody's International Manual, Global Company Handbook, and Disclosure/Worldscope, Disclosure, Inc.
Is the company local or regional or a start-up?
If you have not found the company listed as publicly trading stock, as a subsidiary or a foreign corporation, or as privately owned, it may be because it is a small local or regional company. These companies are difficult to obtain information on because they are not required to provide it. If the company is local, regional or otherwise small in scope, you may find information in state industrial directories, local newspapers, chambers of commerce and better business bureaus.
Indexes are useful for background articles on all aspects of a company. The following resources may be available at Honnold Library or online: Business Periodicals Index, Predicasts F&S Index, ABI/Inform, Business Index, Wall Street Journal Index, CNNMoney.com, USA Today Money and Bloomberg.com.