subject guide: business guide

Subject Guides >Business Guide

A guide to answering business questions.

Company Research

  1. General (phone, address, executives, etc)
  2. Company History
  3. Financials
  4. Still in business?
  5. Public or Private?
  6. Subsidiary/division?
  7. Products
  8. Market Share
  9. News
  10. Case Studies
  11. Credit Report
 

1. General (phone, address, executives, etc)

Contact information for both public and private companies

  • Hoovers
  • Greenwood Superpages
  • New Ultimates Yellow Pages
  • ReferenceUSA
  • Melissa Data - The Lookup Directory from Melissa Data provides a first-rate collection of 18 look-up databases. Accessible from a single page — for free! Includes U.S. Place Names, Zip Code Demographics, Income Tax Statistics, Area Codes in a Radius, Worldwide Place Names, Copywriting Tips, Nonprofit Organizations, etc.
  • Toll Free Directory - Companies are listed by product, service, company name, state, and 800 numbers.

Executives, including biographies

For public companies, biographical information is available in the company's proxy statement and Annual Report/Form 10-K.

Here are a few websites which will provide executive biographical information:

2. Company History

  • The company's website
  • Library of Congress' Guide to Business History
  • Wikipedia - Companies - This section of the popular Wikipedia encyclopedia provides company profiles for hundreds of U.S. and international firms, both public and private. You can find entries either by browsing the various categories (e.g., companies by country, by stock exchange, or by industry) or by entering the name of the target organization in the search box.

3. Financials

Sales, Revenues

Here are a few websites, which will supply financial information about public & private companies:

  • Hoovers
  • Yahoo! Finance
  • Smart Business Reports - If you assume risk in dealing with other businesses and have a need to determine business or asset ownership, these online reports of public records may be very helpful (fees charged).

Annual Reports, proxy, and 10k

Here are a few websites which will provide financial statements (Annual Reports, 10-Ks, etc) on public companies:

4. Is the company still in business?

An excellent place to start looking (regardless if the company is still in business or not) would be to check the Secretary of State website for the state in which the business is located.

5. Is the company public or private?

Information on private companies is not readily available. A few sources that would provide information on private companies would be:

6. Is this company a subsidiary or division of another company?

  • Corporate Affiliations - Offers insight on nearly 1 million parent and subsidiary businesses worldwide, and has recently expanded coverage to include additional in-depth details on directors, executives and their professional interactions, to help you build relationships that encourage business success. Has a 7 day free trial.
  • ReferenceUSA - Directory information on ten million public and private U.S. businesses that includes business hierarchies.

7. Products/Services

What is the company's line of business? (SIC or NAICS codes). Here are sources for determining SIC and NAICS Codes.

8. Market share/Rankings

Would you be interested in company rankings (top 10 list), competitors, ratings, or market share information? (Market Share is the ratio of sales for one company's products or product line to the total market sales of that product or product line, expressed as a percentage of the market.)Here are some excellent websites, which provide company rankings.

  • Forbes - Click on Lists.
  • MarketResearch.com - Offers more than 2.3 million reports from over 950 leading research firms. Also has Market Looks, an 8-10 page summary on specific industries. Free registration.
  • INC 500 Lists - Includes the Inc. 500 lists for 1982-2005. Full contents of the 14 annual issues of Inc. and four annual issues of Inc. Technology are posted at this website when the magazines go on newsstands. All stories back to 1988 are available for free in the (searchable) online archives.

9. Company News

Would you be interested in news or articles about a particular company? Here are a few excellent websites which will provide articles are individual companies.

10. Case studies/Best practices

11. Credit Reports



Industry Research

  1. Trends & Forecasts
  2. Market Share
  3. Trade Associations
  4. Surveys and Statistics
  5. Industry News
 

1. Trends & Forecasts

2. Market Share

3. Trade Associations

4. Surveys and Statistics

  • ClickZ Stats - Provides industry statistics including revenues and historical/current data.

5. Industry News



Investing

  1. Current Stock Quotes
  2. Historical Stock Quotes
 

1. Current Stock Quotes

Real Time Quotes

Charts

More Information

2. Historical Stock Quotes



Start a Small Business

  1. Where to Start
  2. Advice, Tips, and Guidelines
  3. Supporting Organizations
  4. Finding a Name
  5. Legal/Financials
  6. Government Forms/Loans
  7. Business Plans
  8. Types of Businesses

1. Where to Start

2. Advice, Tips, and Guidelines

3. Supporting Organizations

  • Score - Free small business advice.

4. Finding a Name

5. Legal/Financial Issues

6. Government Forms/Loans

7. Business Plans

  • Bplans - Free business plan samples, and software (for a fee).
  • More Business - Free business plan samples.

8. Types of Businesses

Home-Based Business

Family Business

Women and Minority Owned Business

Franchise Business

  • Franchise Expo
  • Franchise.com
  • Franchise Gator - This site is a good starting point for exploring franchise possibilities, with over 700 franchises covered, and industry, location, and capital indexes to their database of franchises, plus articles and guides to franchising. While U.S.-based, this site is expanding to the United Kingdom and internationally.
  • BizBuySell - One of the ways to start a small business is to buy an existing one. This site, in alliance with the Wall Street Journal Online, claims it "is the Internet's largest and most heavily trafficked business for sale marketplace, with more business for sale listings, more unique users, and more search activity than any other service. BizBuySell currently has an inventory of over 50,000 businesses for sale."


Economics

  1. Prime Rate
  2. Foreign Exchange Rate
  3. Consumer Price Index
  4. Other Statistics

1. Prime Rate

2. Foreign Exchange Rate

3. Consumer Price Index

The (CPI)Consumer Price Index is the monthly measure of the change in average prices over time of a fixed list of goods and services. The CPI is also know as the inflation rate.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • ACCRA - The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is another index that measures prices for consumer goods and services in 310 urban areas (for a fee).

4. Other Statistics

What type of economic data are you interested in (Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Producer Price Index, etc.)? Here are some excellent websites, which will provide economic data: