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Company/Industry Research: Background Research

Top Business Research Resources

The databases and resources below are some our most popular and comprehensive for company and industry related research.  Please explore the resources contained in this guide and don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Additional Company & Industry Research Resources

Basics of Company Research

1. Check the corporate structure, affiliation, status, related industry

2. Find out whether the company is:

  • public or private?
  • a subsidiary or joint venture?
  • a franchise?
  • foreign-owned?

3. Find out what articles have been published on various aspects of the company's operations

4. Consider current events, including business rankings

5. Review the company website to find annual reports, filings, executives, news, press releases, etc.

Company Financials

Publicly traded company financials can be found in databases such as Capital IQ, Mergent, Edgar, and Thomson One.  Also look at the Investor Relations section of the companies website.

If the company is private, little or no specific financial information beyond sales figures may be available about the company. Try to find articles via Factiva or Nexis Uni. Both contain thousands of full-text newspapers and business periodicals; you may be able to locate articles which quote company officials discussing the firm's finances.

Industry Research

Industry reports contain valuable analysis of an industry's operating conditions, driving forces, competitive landscapes, key statistics analysis on market characteristics, operating conditions, current and forecast performance, major industry participants, etc. Use IBISWorld, Mergent Intellect, Statista, and Thomson One to find these reports.

Industry codes have been developed over the years to provide a way to classify industries into categories and group firms of similar nature together. There are several major industry code systems: Identifying the appropriate code can significantly help you identify appropriate resources for that industry. Most industries are officially classified according to the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).  These codes help you to identify competitors, and can help you find resources that will tell you more about your company's industry. Many companies will be part of multiple industries, and as a result will have several  NAICS codes. Look at the main company profile page in Mergent to get an idea of what your company's primary Industry (and primary NAICS code) is. The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system was originally developed in the 1930’s to classify establishments by the type of activity in which they are primarily engaged. SIC codes ceased being updated in 1987, however their use remains widespread.

The best strategy for findings industry statistics to identify the stakeholders (governments, companies, organizations) and do a thorough search of their publications and Internet pages. The U.S. Census Bureau publishes statistics via their Industry Series Portal.

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