This guide has almost everything you need to research a company. If you have any questions, please contact me or schedule a consultation.
Before you start
Considering the following questions before you start your research will help ease some of the frustration that comes with company research. The most important thing to remember is be flexible! If your search doesn't work the first time, try another strategy, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
- What is the complete, official name of the company?
Companies are often known by a popular name or a brand name that is actually not their official name. You also need to watch out for name changes and mergers and acquisitions. Punctuation can even be an issue. If you are unsure of the complete, official name of the company, try the stock ticker for the company or a quick Web search with the information you have. Often, you will find the company's Web site or a page where the official name and/or stock ticker will be listed.
- Is the company a subsidiary?
A company may be a subsidiary of, wholly or partially owned by, a parent company. If so, you may only find information on the parent company. Some of resources listed in this guide will help you answer this question. You can also check a source like The Directory of Corporate Affiliations (Cabell Library Reference HG4057.A217).
- Is the company publicly-held?
Publicly-held companies sell stock to the public and are therefore subject to Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. These regulations ensure that a wealth of information is available, but no such regulations exist for privately-held companies. Therefore, most resources do not cover private companies although some may include limited information. See the Private Companies section for a list of selected resources including Privco.
- Is the company a U.S. company?
Unless a foreign-owned company is traded on a U.S. stock exchange, it may be difficult to obtain more than limited information. See the International Companies section for a list of selected resources.
Try the following databases for a quick company search. In most cases, additional research will be necessary, but the following sources are all excellent starting places.