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Company Research: Getting Started

What Kind of Company?

In general, it's easier to find information companies that trade on a stock exchange (public companies) or companies with large public profiles. The business databases will include articles about all types of companies.

Public companies and Subsidiaries

  • Consider the public company Yum Brands. You are probably more familiar with its subsidiaries, KFC, Pizza Hit and Taco Bell. There should be plenty of articles about these subsidiaries with their large public profiles.
  • Public companies issue annual reports to shareholders. These reports are usually posted on company websites and at Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Subdiaries don't usuallly offer separate reports

Private/Non-Public Companies

  • Private companies don't have to issue annual reports and often can be more difficult to research. An example of a large private enterprise is Perdue Farms, Inc. Some information about private companies can be found in directories such as RefUSA, Hoover's Academic and LexisNexis Academic.

Non-Profit Organizations

  • There are sources that track non-profit organizations such as GuideStar
  • It is easier to find information on non-profit organizations with large public profiles
  • Non-Profits are also included in some of the business directories


Print Reference Sources

Company Databases

Use these sources for a quick overview of a company.