Public companies have shares of stock or other registered securities that are bought and sold by the public on one of the stock exchanges. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires publicly traded companies to file extensive information with them, which is available online.
Private companies are not traded on any stock exhange. Generally, they do not have to file any documents with the SEC, so it can be more challenging to find information on them.
To find profiles and other information about a company, such as its history, product lines, customer base, key suppliers, management team, strategy, and competitors, use the following resources. Keep in mind that for public companies, additional information can be found in the company's 10-K, the annual report all U.S. public companies have to file with the SEC.
A company or organization website can be an excellent source of information for locations, products and services, pricing, and product specifications. For public companies, they can include the company's mission statement as well as links to annual reports and 10-K's. SEC filings, especially 10-K reports, may include products, markets, distribution channels, research and development, patent, and environmental safety information.
Note: Websites are not objective information sources, do not depend on them to tell the entire story about a company or organization.