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Company and Industry Information: Getting Started

This guide provides starting points for locating company and industry information.

Industry Information

Michigan Companies

Use these Dun & Bradstreet directories to locate basic information about Michigan businesses. Located in the library on the 3rd floor.

Faculty Librarian

Online Directories

Use this online directory to locate basic company contact and organizational information.

U.S. Companies

Resources for contact, historical, financial, and operating information.

Company Research in Seven Steps

­Step 1: Identify/Profile a Company

  • Is the company publicly-owned (does the company trade stock on an exchange like NASDAQ or NYSE?) or privately-held. U.S. public companies must file regular reports with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). 
  • Summarize the company's business activities. Company profiles include details like history, sales, profits, number of employees, principle executives, multi-year financial statements, locations, products and services, brands, and key competitors.

Consider checking several of these sources because they won’t necessarily include the same information; some may be a little more current.
Where to find company profiles:

Library Sources - Databases
ABI/Inform Collection - Scroll down to Company Organization box

Business (Gale OneFile)
Business Insights Global
Mergent Intellect


*Information for privately-owned companies may be more challenging to find 

Step 2: Find Current News and in-depth Articles

Articles published in leading business magazines and trade journals often provide insight into a company's operations, strategy and competition. Where to look for articles:

Library Databases 

ABI/Inform Collection 

Business (Gale OneFile)

Business Insights Global

These Internet sites are devoted to business news and provide access to a lot of free content: Use the Search tool on each site.

Yahoo! Finance 
Google Business News

Step 3: Visit the Company's Web Site
Company websites are valuable sources of information and well worth exploring.  Public company sites will include links for investors, global responsibility, corporate information,  governance, and similar descriptions.  

Step 4: Examine the Company's Financials and Market Performance
Public companies issue annual and quarterly reports including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Some sources for financial information allow it to be downloaded into a spreadsheet for analysis.
Where to find financial information:

Library Resources
Mergent Intellect

Internet Sources
Yahoo Finance

Step 5: Locate a Company's Strategy

U.S. Public Companies usually state business strategies in  PART I, Item 1. Business of Form 10-K (or annual report) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The business overview in the 10-K includes a discussion of the company's strategy, products and services, operations, marketing, distribution, international business, suppliers and government regulation.

Where to find 10-Ks:
Library Resource
Mergent Intellect

Internet Sources
Yahoo! Finance

Step 6: Locate Investment Research Reports
Financial institutions (banks, investment firms)  produce research reports, written by analysts, that discuss a company's health, future plans, and much more, for public companies. 

Locate Analysts’ Reports:
Business Insights: Global

Step 7: Survey the Industry and Competition
Companies are affected by industry conditions. Industry reports can help to identify the top competitors as well. 

Business Insights: Global  Click the Industries link, scroll down to Plunkett Reports.