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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.

Where to Find Company Profiles

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

Step 2: Finding 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 Find Articles

Library Databases
Websites

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

Step 3: Visit the Company's Website

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 Database
Websites

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 10K 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

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 Analyst's Reports

Step 7: Survey the Industry and Competition

Companies are affected by industry conditions. Industry reports can help to identify the top competitors as well.