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Business Research

Company Information

image is of two employees working on computers in an office

Researching a company involves utilizing multiple types of resources to find substantive information. At Vogel, we subscribe to and pay for a group of business databases that will be integral to your research process. In addition to the information included in the databases, the public web is a crucial resource. How does the company portray themselves to their customers and competitors? How do their customers speak of them online? One of these types of resources will only give you a piece of the puzzle, bring in information from a variety of sources to provide a more complete view of the company.

Open Web Resources

Websites

Don't forget to check your company's website! Though this information is filtered through the company itself, you can still discover how the company chooses to present itself, relate and market to its consumers, and engage its employees. Public companies may also include their required SEC financial filings on an "Investor Relations" page. A simple search should be enough to locate this information. For example: "under armour" AND "investor relations" will lead you to their financial information.

Social Media

In addition to the company website, check out their social media presence in all of its forms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.).  It can be a great tool for finding out more about a company, its latest news, consumers, public relations, and marketing strategy. Check out your company's various accounts to see if/how they communicate through these channels.

Types of Companies

Knowing whether the company you want to research is public or private is important when researching. Ultimately, it will determine where you should look for information and how much you're likely to find on your company. Keep in mind:

Public companies

  • issue stock
  • ​are traded under abbreviations known as ticker symbols
  • are sometimes called publicly traded companies 
  • ​are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to file regular financial reports and other documents
  • lots of information available, on the company's website and other business websites and in subscription databases 

Private companies (or subsidiaries of public companies)

  • may issue stock and have shareholders, but their shares do not trade on public exchanges and are not issued through an initial public offering (Investopedia, 2019)
  • ​are not required by regulatory bodies like the SEC to reveal any information about themselves
  • it may not be possible to find out much about them, beyond what they post on their websites
  • ​articles in trade journals and newspapers can be good sources of information 

Non-Profit companies

  • can be private foundations or public charities
  • are required to submit IRS documents called "Form 990"--these documents disclose names of key leaders as well as their financial position

Databases provided by Vogel

Internet Resources

Tips for Reading Annual Reports

Vogel Library, Wartburg College   |   100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 |   Phone: 319-352-8500   | Email: asklibrarian@wartburg.edu