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Company & Industry Information: Home

Start here for your company and industry information needs.

Getting Started

When researching a company, it can be useful to first determine if it is publicprivate or a subsidiary of a larger company.

Public companies sell shares of the company (stocks) to the general public, and are required to submit financial information and annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  It is typically easier to find information on a public company.  

Private companies do not sell publicly traded stocks and are not governed by the SEC, so they are not required to disclose as much information about their company.  It is typically more challenging to research private companies.

Subsidiaries are just one part of a public company -- basically a smaller company within a larger one.  It can be tricky finding information on subsidiaries because the parent company is not required to report on each of them individually.  Finding information on the subsidiary can involve digging through reports about the parent company, looking for references to the subsidiary.

Visit and Gather Information from the Company Website

The company website can be a great place for certain types of information needed when doing company research. Just keep in mind the inherent bias of the information on a company's own website.

Look for this type of Information for your project:

  • Business Description
  • Company brands and products offered
  • Better understanding of the image the store is trying to portray & the consumers they are targeting
  • Basic financial information.
  • Social responsibility efforts
  • Customer services offered

A.  Look for links titled something like About Us or About the Company.  (These are typically at the bottom of the page.)

Here's where you can often find information about company brands, corporate history, community services programssustainability efforts.

B.  Also look for links labeled for Investors or Investor Relations, (Also typically at the bottom of the page.)

Expect to find press releases and financial reports here Locate the Annual Report as it can be a great place to find information such as a detailed business description, "year in review" analysis, and strategic directions,  Don't be intimidated by its size & in-depth financial information as you can skip through all of that & just read the interesting and applicable information!

C.  The company website is also a great place to learn about a retail store's customer services and loyalty programs.

Using Company Web Sites for Company Research

A company website provides a wealth of information for company research:

  • The Annual Report (find financials, year-in-review, marketing strategies, etc.)
  • Product and Brand Information
  • Study how the company is promoting itself.  What image are they trying to convey on their site?
  • And much more!

> Look for links labeled "About Us" or "About the Company" or "Investor Information" 

When is relying on a company website NOT a good idea for company research?

  • You are researching a company's weaknesses or problems or a negative issue.   The company will spin this type of information in the most positive light and will not provide an unbiased analysis.
  • You want an unbiased analysis of how the company is doing financially. 

Your Business Librarian

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Laura Sheets