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BCOM 3950 - Business Communication and Professional Development: Company Research

The 1-2-3 of Company Search - Decision Chart

Tips on how  to find your company information:

1.  Is your company private or public?  To determine if your company is private or public, use ReferenceUSA.

2. If your company is private or non-public, continue to retrieve data from ReferenceUSA.  Financial information for private companies may be limited since they are not required to file with governmental agencies. The financial estimates available on ReferenceUSA should meet the requirements for your BCOM assignment. SWOT analyses and company profile reports of large non-public companies such as Enterprise Holdings, Chick-Fil-A, Cox Communications are available on Business Search Collection or Business Source Complete.

3. If your company is public, you can still use Reference USA and Business Search Collection/Complete, but MergentOnline provides more complete information on public companies.

4. For customer and SWOT analyses, use the "Company Profiles" in Business Source Complete to get the full reports. Note: Smaller private or startups and public companies may not be available. Please contact your Business Librarian for additional research help. 

5. For your company's core values and motivation forces, use the company descriptions in the databases, but the best source can be found on the company websites. The links to the company websites are listed in databases.  At the company website, you can look for this type of information under the "Vision & Mission", "About Us", or "Who Are We" headings.

6. For specific instructions on how to find company information, please review the video tutorials below and the "Research Companies" Box.

Private or Public Company? Finding Private Company Data

Finding Public Company Information

Finding Customer and SWOT Analysis

Research Companies

Company research is a key skill across business disciplines. Beyond school research, this skill is important when you're considering a job change, preparing for an interview, trying to make investment decisions, or doing business with a company. Some resources and things to consider when researching a company:

  • Is this company public or private? It can be more difficult to find information about private companies.
    • MergentOnline is an easy-to-use database to gather basic background information about a company, including basic sales, contact information and the company's status as public or private.  
    • NetAdvantage is a comprehensive database to search for company analysis and investment research covering over 3 million global public and private companies. 
    • Private company financial information is less likely to be available, but estimates may be included in NetAdvantage and ReferenceUSA.  
  • Is the company in the news lately? Try these sources for news, magazines and journal articles: 
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis reports are available for many companies through Business Source Ultimate and provide a good overview of the company's current environment.